The Checker Blog

The Relationship Between Compensation and Safety Adherence

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Tue, Apr 02, 2019 @ 07:15 AM

 

Finding a way to relate personnel's compliance to safety policies is an effective way to encourage workplace safety.

Safety in the workplace is an essential aspect of any organization. But in the hopes of saving money, some business owners feel tempted to not follow government safety regulations, such as those from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the Ontario Ministry of Labour

This approach is short-sighted at best, since compliance with these safety policies will not only help safeguard against costly accidents, injuries, and property damages, it can avoid significant fines and, in some cases, even criminal charges,

It's also important to remember that in addition to the initial costs of an accident (fines, legal fees, civil claims, etc.), a company will also have to deal with indirect costs, which are usually several times more than the direct costs and can sometimes be more than 10 times higher.

But no matter how dedicated a business owner is to complying with safety regulations, if the company’s employees aren't willing or able to follow them, all of management's efforts will be in vain. In the end, it's the employees who are at the frontlines, making them an integral part of the day-to-day application of any safety policies. 

Some employees may be oblivious of the risks they subject themselves to by not following safety protocols, while others may disregard them so they can finish their work faster. Whatever the case, any employer needs to find ways to incentivize personnel to follow safety procedures and stay in line with regulatory standards.

Compensation for Safety Adherence

Of course, one of the most efficient ways of incentivizing personnel is to include safety adherence in decisions about how much to monetarily compensate an employee. A safety-adherence compensation program can be tailored to any company's structure and way of doing things, but regardless of the company’s unique needs,  personnel should be rewarded for good behaviour as well as a smooth and streamlined execution of specific safety protocols.  

The Checker Software is the perfect tool to implement such a program. It has numerous features, including the tracking and management of safety activities. If your employees are using The Checker Software during their daily safety inspections, the software will generate reports, telling you about their actions and how well they adhered to safety policies and procedures. 

The software allows for personal reminders, alerts, and notifications—ensuring that every safety check is carried out at the right time. 

Nothing will slip through the cracks or go unnoticed, allowing you to implement your safety-adherence compensation program to great effect. In addition, The Checker Software will enable personnel to detect and report potential risk hazards. You can incentivize them to do so, making them go one step beyond and become proactive in increasing workplace safety.

Takeaway

Companies have many reasons—and ways—to encourage employee compliance with safety policies and procedures that adhere to regulatory standards. Including safety compliance in compensation decisions is one of the best methods for this encouragement. The Checker Software enables management to easily track this compliance.

For more information about The Checker Pro, please visit our website or email us at info@thechecker.net.

 

Topics: safety management, OSHA, inspection management, inspections and profitability, risk assessments, safety audits, audit software, audit/inspection software

No Reason to Fear Safety Non-compliance

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Feb 21, 2019 @ 07:30 AM

Companies within the United States that do not follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations are opening themselves up to all sorts of non-compliance fines.

In the developed world, most countries have similar regulations. These regulations are straightforward, and the cost of non-compliance is clear. 

Types of OSHA Violations

De Minimis – This is the least severe type of violation, with no real impact on health or safety. OSHA does not issue fines for these kinds of breaches

Other-than-serious  This is an offence that is related to health or safety but would not directly result in severe injury or death. One such example is the failure to post required safety documentation in the work area. Substantial fines result.

Serious These types of violations are issued when an employer is aware of a potential hazard that poses a health or safety risk to the employees but does nothing about it. Substantial fines result.

Willful – This level of violation is issued when there’s an intentional violation of OSHA standards. If it results in an employee killed, there’s possible jail time in addition to fines.

Failure to Abate Companies have a set amount of time to fix problems they were cited. If they fail to do so in that time, fines accrue and criminal charges are likely.

Indirect Costs Associated with Non-Compliance Violations

Aside from fines and criminal liability, employers also have to face the legal costs to settle civil claims, as well as business disruption and negative reputation costs.

According to a survey conducted by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), every dollar spent on direct costs and fines related to an accident results in an additional $3-$10 in indirect costs. 

A Comprehensive Inspection Program

Fortunately, these risks can be minimized.

A well-thought-out, comprehensive safety inspection program, implemented using The Checker Software, will increase a company's worker safety and comply with all mandatory regulations. 

This software—which can be used on any mobile device—can manage inspections and audits, identify hazards, and provide corrective and preventive actions. It can relieve you of any anxiety about non-compliance and pave the way to a safe workplace.

Topics: safety management, OSHA, legal compliance, inspection software, inspection management, audit/inspection software

Three Historical Disasters Due to Inspection Failure

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Feb 14, 2019 @ 02:10 PM

It pays to look for problems that could led to workplace disasters.

Things don't always go as planned. Accidents are an all-too-common occurrence that can negatively impact businesses of all types and sizes.

Safety inspections can prevent these accidents from happening!

Nonetheless, many business owners prefer to risk cutting corners, hoping to save some time and money in the process. This is a slippery slope that often leads to disaster.

Consider these infamous examples:

The 2018 New York Limo Crash

In October 2018, a stretch limousine plowed through an intersection in upstate New York. Twenty people were killed—17 passengers, two pedestrians, and the driver. This accident is considered to be the deadliest U.S. transportation disaster since 2009, and it made headlines across the world.

The police investigation found that the limo failed a safety inspection earlier that month. (The driver also didn't have the right license to drive it.) 

The 2017 Grenfell Tower Fire in London

On June 14, 2017, a fire broke out at around 1 a.m. in a 24-story apartment block in West London known as the Grenfell Tower. The fire raged for 24 hours, but it took over 60 hours to fully extinguish it. Seventy people died in the fire, and another two victims died at the hospital. Another 70 people were injured.

With material damages estimated at between 200 million and one billion pounds, the Grenfell Tower is the deadliest structural fire in the United Kingdom since 1988 and the worst residential fire in the U.K. since World War II. 

The building underwent significant exterior renovations in 2015-16, including rain-screen cladding that later proved to be highly flammable. Both residents and an official report mentioned safety concerns about the building—before the fire.

To make matters worse, the first fire brigade incident commander admitted he failed to make numerous safety checks before the disaster, stating that he didn't know fire could spread through the cladding. 

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Also known as the BP oil disaster, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill—which began with an explosion on April 20, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico—is considered to be the largest marine oil spill in history. Even after two years of being declared sealed on September 19, 2010, reports indicated that oil was still leaking. Eleven people died and 17 were severely injured in the accident. Countless people along the Gulf's U.S. coast were negatively affected.

An investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) revealed that Deepwater Horizon personnel did perform regular inspections on components necessary for day-to-day drilling operations. But they didn’t conduct regular checks on the emergency systems used to identify latent failures. If they had, the disaster likely could have been avoided. 

Takeaway

Proper, regular safety inspections could have prevented these three disasters, and they can keep similar tragedies from happening in your organization.

Topics: safety management, safety awareness, workplace safety, inspection management

What Makes a Good Inspection Checklist?

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Jan 31, 2019 @ 03:00 PM

A good inspection checklist is easy to use.

Inspections and audits act as the foundation for every safety program out there. They’re how companies can gather the necessary insight to discover potential hazards, equipment malfunctions, improper staff training, or unsafe working conditions, to name a few. 

Despite this fact, many organizations look at inspections and audits as a sort of necessary evil, just for the sake of regulatory compliance. Consequently, they often cut corners or turn a blind eye to poor inspection procedures. 


The Actual Benefits of a Good Inspection Checklist

When a comprehensive inspection checklist is put together, it will contain all the necessary details for every individual asset. It needs to be simple and easy-to-use in the field but not at the expense of becoming too generic. 

When appropriately designed, inspection checklists can be done either on paper or digitally, using mobile devices and cloud-based software. An advantage of a digital checklist is its many functionalities. The Checker Software, for instance, will analyze the data, compile reports, highlight trends, identify long-term inconsistencies, and provide alerts or notifications, among many other things. It will ensure that nothing goes unnoticed or slips through the cracks. 

All of these benefits ultimately help a company’s bottom line while supporting the well-being of personnel. A good inspection checklist will be able to:

  • Minimize project delays and unproductivity
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Reduce recurring problems
  • Prevent the use of unsafe assets, thus reducing employee injury
  • Discourage the improper or abusive use of assets
  • Help determine ideal maintenance schedules
  • Maximize scheduling productivity
  • Budget for downtime
  • Better evaluate asset quality. 

Important Aspects of the Checklist Design

It's important to keep in mind that poorly designed inspection checklists will not be taken seriously by staff members. Lists that aren't detailed enough or are not asset-specific are generally viewed as additional paperwork that needs to be done solely for the sake of regulation.  

What's more, these inferior inspection checklists will not provide many of the benefits mentioned above. So, when creating a sound inspection checklist, you should make sure to include the following aspects:

  • It should include a checkbox for every part of the asset that is essential for its safe and productive use.
  • The inspection checklist also needs to clearly state which exact problems will make that asset inoperable, as well as what issues need to be red-flagged for maintenance.
  • Checkboxes need to be listed in a logical and intuitive order, thus helping to streamline the inspection process. Listing them in alphabetical order, for instance, will force operators to waste precious time going back and forth searching for the right box to check. 
  • The overall design of the inspection checklist needs to be simple, easy to read, and easy to understand.

Takeaway

With the Checker Software, you can create your checklist format in accordance with your assets and needs. You will also have access to the many added benefits a digital inspection tool can provide. For more information, visit our website or contact us directly.

Topics: inspection checklists, inspection software, inspection basics, inspection management, inspection best practices, audit software

What You Didn't Know Inspection Software Could Do

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Dec 27, 2018 @ 03:25 PM

Audit/inspection software can be used to get more out of audits and inspections, for less cost.

Regular workplace audits and inspections are essential for every business looking to prevent all sorts of work-related incidents, illnesses, property damage, injuries, or loss of revenue. Software can be a powerful tool in conducting these audits and inspections.

Some businesses opt to skip out on regular inspections, hoping to save on expenses. But as time has shown repeatedly, companies that do not take their safety seriously always draw the short straw.

Many other businesses that conduct regular audits and inspections do so in the traditional way—namely, on paper. And while there is nothing wrong with paper, it has some shortcomings, especially when compared to software. 

For starters, there's the storage cost of paper. Then there's the question of access to information. With a paper-based inspection system, users will physically have to find information. With modern inspection software, the data can be easily retrieved at any time.   

There's also the issue of standardization across numerous locations, which is much easier to achieve with software and leaves far less room for error than pen and paper. And don’t forget about transparency. Reports are commonly the first thing to be looked at when there is a proposal offering, collaboration opportunity, or contract to evaluate,. And these reports are much easier to generate and are more accurate with software.

Five Things Software Can Do That You May Not Be Aware Of

Let's take a look at some other, less-obvious features that audit/inspection software can provide. 

Auto-Populating

Auto-populating information so that you don't have to rewrite it yourself is a useful feature of software. It saves time and reduces errors in your process.

Reminders

This simple, yet incredibly useful feature is something paper-based systems will never be able to do. The automated reminder system will let your staff know when the next audit or inspection is scheduled, what other tasks remain for each, or other such similar issues, ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks. 

Point-Scoring Models

Audit and inspection software like The Checker allows users to assign scores to items, rather than simply passing or failing them.

Notifications

An entire year is a long time, and annual audits and inspections can easily escape your mind. But with software, you can schedule notifications.

Red-Flagging Compliance Items

You can design your audit/inspection software to red-flag compliance items that would block audits and inspections from being completed.

Takeaway

While these features may seem intuitive and straightforward, they are nevertheless crucial elements that will ensure the safety of your workplace and prevent anything from slipping through the cracks. With these features in place, there will be less room for error, more visible improvements, and fewer accidents overall. For more information on what audit and inspection software can achieve, visit our website or contact us directly.

Topics: inspection management, audit software, audit/inspection software

Gaining the Benefits of Audit/Inspection Software: Where Do We Start?

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Jun 15, 2017 @ 09:59 AM

It’s one thing to be aware that using software to transform audit/inspection processes can provide numerous business benefits. It’s quite another thing to actually begin using software to gain those benefits.

Expressions-16.jpgAudit/inspection software such as The Checker Software has so many capabilities to create and support improvements, it can be daunting to decide where to focus initial implementation efforts.

But this decision—where to begin?—is the logical first step in any software implementation. It must be made before you can begin down the road toward maximizing the value of audits and inspections.

Fortunately, this decision doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s really common sense, and it can be made by simply answering the fundamental question: “In what areas of our company do audits and inspections have the greatest impact on costs and risk?”

The areas you identify will probably seem self-evident, but listing them out will serve to focus your organization’s attention on them as you get started with your implementation.

Operational Cost Impacts

One area that many companies will quickly identify is the audit/inspection impact on production lines. If a particular aspect of the production process is subject to breaking down—and that failure will result in shutting down or slowing the process—then that aspect is an obvious place to focus initially. It is a high-value concern, and improved audits and inspections can clearly reduce the failure rate during production.

This logic is true for any asset or equipment that is critical to an essential element of operations. If something breaking down can stop or hinder you from doing what makes you money, there’s an opportunity to gain much value by auditing or inspecting that thing.

Maintenance is another area where audits and inspections can greatly impact costs. The maintenance department should be immediately notified whenever an audit or inspection reveals a problem that needs fixing, so that the problem’s costs can be eliminated ASAP. Ideally, problems should be detected and reported to maintenance before they become more serious and expensive problems. And audit/inspection results should be used by maintenance to determine the most cost-efficient preventative maintenance schedules based on historical failure patterns.

If that’s not how it’s happening in your organization, you can significantly reduce maintenance costs and operational disruptions by concentrating initial software implementation efforts on this area.

Risk Impacts

The areas being considered here are often thought of as vulnerabilities that need defending against—a defense audits and inspections can provide.

Human safety is always a top risk concern, and so any operation that poses the potential for serious injury or fatality is an obvious place to begin making improvements using software. Improved audits and inspections will reduce incidence rates.

Another vulnerability related to safety is compliance. Any area of your operations in which non-compliance fines would be relatively high is an area to put on your list. So is any area in which non-compliance would likely trigger a regulatory audit.

Facilities are also vulnerable. Are there are any aspects of your operations that could damage or destroy your facilities? Or that could harm personnel working in those facilities? The issue could be chemical hazards, fire hazards, air quality problems, or something unique to your operations. Whatever these vulnerabilities are, they should be included in your initial-focus areas.

Takeaway

If you’ve decided to implement audit/inspection software to maximize the value you get from your investment in audits and inspections, you’ve made a wise decision. Now, to get started, focus on the areas where audits and inspections have the most impact on costs and risk.

Reducing production downtime, lowering maintenance costs, and minimizing safety/compliance risk are typical areas on which to focus, but each company may have different priorities.

Topics: inspection management, inspection best practices, audit software

Doing Inspections Isn’t Enough. You Need an Inspection Program.

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Apr 20, 2017 @ 09:15 AM

When we began providing safety consulting and training in the late 1980s, very few companies had a safety manager, or even a safety program to manage.

They were just beginning to realize the enormous cost and risk of unsafe business practices, and that’s why they were seeking people like us to help them develop a systematic approach to safety.

Creating an inspection program increases effectiveness and lowers costs.Today, many medium-size and large companies not only have safety managers, they have safety committees and well-documented safety policies, procedures, and training requirements. There is always room for improvement, but they have developed legitimate, effective safety programs.

Now we’re recommending that companies begin to think of inspections and audits in the same way.

Where Is the Inspection Program?

In addition to safety programs, it’s become common to have compliance, quality control, and maintenance programs, headed by a specific manager. But you never hear about “inspection programs.”

Inspections and audits have a direct impact on safety, compliance, quality control, and maintenance, but they are still almost always incorporated into those programs rather than being considered a separate, distinct aspect of the business.

That is a mistake, because it leads to an ad-hoc, fragmented approach to inspections that costs companies a substantial amount of money.

Without a dedicated person to manage inspections (e.g., the safety manager) and a comprehensive inspection program that applies to all divisions, departments, locations, etc., a company has no consistency in:

  • how inspections are conducted
  • what is required to be inspected
  • how (and when) results are communicated
  • how the loop is closed between results and corrective actions
  • how results are archived and reported.

This lack of consistency inevitably leads to many inefficiencies. Inspections are like any other part of a business—the higher the level of coordination, the higher the level of efficiency.

Lack of a formalized, effective system for communicating results and initiating action steps also increases costs and risk due to miscommunications and delayed reactions to results.

And the lack of a consistent program makes it difficult—if not impossible—to use results in proactive ways, such as preventative maintenance, scheduling, or, and training.

Moving Toward Inspection Maturity

My belief is that widespread creation of formalized, comprehensive inspection programs isn’t that far off.  The business case for such an approach to inspections is simply too compelling to ignore, particularly with the development of technology such as The Checker Software, designed specifically for managing inspecting and auditing programs.

There will be resistance, of course, as there is any time a fundamental change is made in a business (regardless of whether the change is positive or not). For one thing, there must be an admission of the cost of not having an inspection program—an admission that may not be easy for some to make. To make the case that an inspection program will save money, the reality that the company has been wasting money has to be faced.

However, I’m optimistic that good business sense will win out, and that 20 years from now, inspection programs will be as common as safety programs have become.

Why wait, though? You can gain a competitive advantage now by beginning to think of your inspections and audits as a distinct part of your business and taking steps to develop a mature, consistent, and comprehensive inspection program.

Takeaway

A consistent, company-wide inspection program—as opposed to an informal, ad-hoc approach to inspections and audits—will reduce inefficiencies and minimize risk. Software specifically designed for inspection management can help greatly in the creation of the program.

 

Topics: inspection management, inspection best practices, inspections and profitability

Implementing Audit/Inspection Software – Part 1: Planning & Process

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Dec 15, 2016 @ 12:53 PM

Many people believe they can simply install the software like an app and start inspecting. And from the outside it may seem this is all that is required, in actuality the best and most successful implementations follow a more robust set of steps that follow best practices to ensure post implementation success.

Business_presentation_byVectorOpenStock.jpg

This post is the first of 4 that will walk you through a standard audit/inspection software implementation project.

Part 1: Planning & Process
Part 2: Solution Design
Part 3: Configuration + Customization
Part 4: Training + Going Live

The first step is often executed as a series of discovery meetings. Some common discovery items are:

  • How will the business requirements be documented?
  • Who will work on the project?
  • Which audit/inspections will the software address?
  • Are there new/additional audit/inspections to be implemented?
  • Is the solution cloud or on-premise?
  • What are the security expectations, who will use the system, and how will they access it?
  • How will team members on the project communicate? Will they meet in person, virtually, or will there be a project portal?
Discovery becomes the foundation for configuring the new software and also helps build out the project plan and to identify gaps. The point is to think through everything that will be considered during the project.

The next aspect of the planning step is to take the time to think through the process. Process design is simply determining what steps are involved in performing audits/inspections for your business. Defining your processes early on in the project and ensuring that the whole team understands them is critical. The most common method is to run process workshops and create process flow documentation that illustrates each step

The audit/inspection software you have selected likely includes some form of pre-defined process or workflow and these are very helpful to kick start your efforts to document process. At some point though you will still need to capture and define any specific requirements which are not the same those available “out-of-the-box”.

Depending on your project, your documentation may be fairly detailed or it may be higher level. It will evolve as you work through the upcoming steps and it may help to envision it as a guide for the project team to understand "what" is getting done. The bottom line for the discovery process is that the implementation team and project team must both understand and agree on the business processes and the objectives of the project.

The next post in this series, Solution Design, covers taking your business requirements and processes and mapping them to the inspection and audit software you are implementing.

Topics: inspection software, inspection management, audit software

4 Success Factors for Moving from Paper Based to Software

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 @ 02:19 PM

Success.png

Making the decision to move from a manual paper-based inspection and audit program to a software managed program can be easy one to make but should not be taken lightly. In our experience, the organizations that succeed the most with inspection and audit software are those who plan for the transition and carefully plan for success.

Here are four common success factors we see:

  1. Never losing track of the human factor

The most successful implementations understand the staff most impacted by the move to audit and inspection software are exactly those who are likely to feel threatened by it. It isn’t uncommon for users to have emotional reactions because they are intimidated by using mobile devices and fear the unknown.

  1. Commit to training (and re-training)

Training is crucial to ensuring your audit and inspection software implementation is a success. The most successful organizations conduct formal training with all users and assign super-users who can learn the software and understand it well enough to coach others. In addition, they spend one-on-one time with operators who are the most intimidated by software or are finding the new way difficult.

  1. Take a pragmatic approach

Even the best planned implementations experience an unexpected user issue or delay. The key is to be flexible and manage the surprises without letting them get you off track entirely.

  1. Solidify your processes

Audit and inspection software can only add limited efficiency to poorly designed processes. Hoping software will be the silver bullet for a manual inspection program that doesn’t work is not being realistic.  

  1. Exhibit strong leadership

If all of the above success factors are in place it probably means you are exhibiting strong leadership. It can’t be understated how important it is to have leadership that understand the move to software isn’t just about an alternative method to conducting inspections and audits as much as it is a signal that audits and inspections are an important part of the business and the organization is willing to invest resources to ensure they are done well.

The bottom line:

Inspection and audit software can make an enormous difference in any organization and embracing a few best practices can ensure your implementation will be a success

Try a sample of The Checker Software to see for yourself what we’re talking about.

Topics: inspection software, inspection management, audit software

Five Amazing Reasons to Automate Your Inspection and Audit Process

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Fri, Aug 19, 2016 @ 09:30 AM

5_reasons.png

It doesn't take a lot of time with manual workplace audits and inspections to experience common bottlenecks that prevent and slow the process. Using software to automate some of these processes can make amazing differences in the effectiveness and efficiency of your audit program.

Here are five proven reasons to use inspection and audit software to automate your processes:

  1. To improve communication

Emails, handwritten notes, and "oh yeah don't forgets" are not a recipe for excellent inspection program communications. Inspection software means you can automate communications and use a simple, streamlined process for all of your approval requests. Users can simply forward each inspection as a PDF via email directly to their supervisor, who can approve or manage as needed.

  1. Stay compliant (and prove it)

When you use audit and inspection software to automate your workflow, you generate an owner for each step. From initiating an audit to conducting it right through to approval and archive, each input is bound to a specific individual who performed and tracked the action. By enabling and tracking this level of information transparency in your process, you are alerted you to any that may put you at risk.

  1. Minimize costs due to manual errors and inefficiency

With inspection and audit software, you minimize human error as pencil whipped, overdue, and missed inspections all can be very expensive. Inspection software can take the onus off your busy staff to remember when to conduct inspections or to keep track of all the steps in longer, more complex audits.

  1. Develop insights into the evolution and impact of your audit and inspection program:

Imagine you have developed your audit processes, trained your employees and been using inspection and audit software smoothly for the last 6 months. Consider the amount of data you have accumulated and the things it can tell you.

You now know how many audits and inspections were conducted, how many were approved, and how many work orders were generated as a result. You can tell how long each audit took and which steps take the longest. You have month over month data to see where things are improving and you have user level detail to identify your most diligent inspectors.

The data captured in your audit and inspection program has far reaching impacts and can be used in as many creative ways as you can come up with. At this point your inspection and audit program can truly deliver on creating value for your business.

  1. Improve morale

No one likes to do things the hard way. In the inspection and audit world, the hard way is clipboards and pencils and ad hoc processes. While it is sometimes hard for field staff to change to the more established workflow that software helps create, in the long run they like it.

Not only do they know exactly what they need to do and how often, the data collected helps to prove how good they are and the level of effort required. This kind of recognition is always good for morale.

The bottom line:

Inspection and audit software automates a lot of the workflow associated with inspections and audit and will make amazing differences in the effectiveness and efficiency of your audit program

Try a sample of The Checker Software to see for yourself what we’re talking about.

Topics: inspection software, mobile inspections, inspection management, audit software