The Checker Blog

Beyond Pass or Fail: Grading Audit and Inspection Results

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Fri, Apr 12, 2019 @ 03:46 PM

Sometimes you have to give grades when workplace safety and asset maintenance are involved.

A pass or fail scoring system can be useful in numerous situations. If all that’s needed is a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down, a pass-fail scoring system gets the job done.

But it’s not always as simple as “yes” or “no.” In certain situations, more detail is needed, and pass/fail will not suffice. If we are to look at safety, for example, basic inspections can work on a pass-fail basis. But when we move on to more-thorough investigations and audits, inspectors need the ability to determine and quantify the degree to which an asset complies with safety standards. 

By grading deficiencies with a score from 1 to 10 on audit or inspection forms, business owners and personnel will be much better suited to prioritize any issues for correction that may arise.

That’s why we included scoring capability in The Checker Software

Using The Checker Software Scoring Feature 

This scoring system doesn't have to be from 1 to 10. You can configure any scoring scale that makes the most sense for you and your assets. It’s an easy-to-use feature. Users select the right scoring system from a drop-down menu, and the system will calculate the total score for every asset and provide a percentage score. 

To further optimize the system, you can add definitions to every scoring level (e.g., excellent condition, usable but needs maintenance, needs repair before use).

You can also add comments, documents, and images to further clarify the score given (e.g., a comment that tires on a vehicle don’t need to be replaced yet but probably will next quarter, with supporting photos showing their condition).

Takeaway

The Checker Software allows you to create and edit whatever scoring systems will fit your needs best—or use the pass-fail system if that’s all that’s required. Whatever option you choose, The Checker will help you optimize the process.

Topics: inspection checklists, inspection software, risk assessments, audit software, inspection forms, audit/inspection software

Playing "Russian Roulette" in the Workplace

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Fri, Apr 05, 2019 @ 07:00 AM

 

Don't play "Russian Roulette" by optimistically hoping nothing awful happens because of unsafe workplace practices.

Russian Roulette is a lethal game of chance where a single round is placed in a revolver, the cylinder is spun, and the player sets the muzzle against his or her head and pulls the trigger. Without rotating the barrel of a six-chamber pistol after every pull, the average number of tries before the bullet discharges is 3.5

Based on these odds, why do some people still play this deadly game in the first place? In many cases, it’s because the players have a death wish. But for some daredevils, the reason is simply optimism bias

The Optimism Bias

This bias is merely one of the many cognitive biases most people experience on a day-to-day basis. These represent various errors in rational judgment, driven by a person’s subjective interpretation of reality. Humans naturally are drawn by the allure of a cohesive narrative of the events happening around them. We constantly simplify things, cherry-pick information, and in some cases, overestimate the success rate of our endeavours.

This optimism starts in childhood and follows us well into adulthood. In the Western world, children are taught from a very young age to have a positive outlook on life, which is generally a good thing but can also lead to optimism bias. 

It's because of this bias that we tend to discount the statistical likelihood of tragic accident or illness occurring to a loved one or ourselves. when a loved one is involved in an accident or diagnosed with a severe illness. The optimism bias is what makes smokers and gamblers disregard the statistics and keep with their vices. It's also why it’s so hard for people to change their behaviour when faced with a relatively slow-moving trend such as climate change. And it's why some play Russian Roulette. They skew or disregard the facts so they can maintain their personal and optimistic narrative about themselves. 

Not Doing Regular Audits and Inspections

When it comes to business settings, an equivalent of Russian Roulette (optimism bias) is not doing regular safety audits and inspections. In 2017, there were a total of 5,147 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States. That’s the equivalent of 3.5 deaths per 100,000 full-time employees and about 14 work-related fatalities per day. 

Some managers, executives, and even employees tend to disregard these numbers and gamble with their safety and the security of others on a day-to-day basis. This apparent shortsightedness is a clear example of overestimating one's odds and believing that bad things can only happen to others. But as like with Russian Roulette, it only takes one bad luck of the draw to bring that entire subjective optimism crashing down into demographic reality.   

The Checker Software is a cloud-based mobile audit and inspection software designed to optimize and streamline workplace safety procedures. It ensures that no safety procedures are skipped or forgotten and it generates reports, analyzes data, identifies hazards, and spots developing safety- or maintenance-related trends, significantly decreasing the risk of accident and workflow disruptions in the organization.

Takeaway

Russian Roulette is a terrible “game” with extreme risk—just as neglecting workplace safety is a unnecessarily dangerous path that can lead to tragedy and loss.

Topics: why inspect?, inspection software, audit software, audit/inspection software

How Are Investments in Safety Similar to Infrastructure Spending?

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Mon, Mar 25, 2019 @ 07:00 AM

safety like infrastructure

Executives, managers, supervisors, and other individuals in leadership positions sometimes put safety procedures and protocols in the last place in order to expedite projects. Some even go as far as disregarding it completely. Why?

Generally, it all has to do with their bottom line. Many people in leadership are concerned about profits first and everything else second. While this method of operating a business may generate some short-term benefits, it will prove to be a total disaster down the line.

The Infrastructure Analogy

To understand why this is, it’s illustrative to look at safety in the workplace in the same way as maintaining a country's infrastructure, which is generally comprised of public (and sometimes private) physical improvements such as roads, bridges, tunnels, railroads, sewers, water supply, power plants, electrical grids, telecommunications, etc.

In a business setting, “infrastructure” is composed of a company’s vehicles, equipment, and other assets. It's safe to say that a business cannot function without these things, just as a country's economy will not thrive without a well-established infrastructure.

But as most of us know, the infrastructure itself isn't enough for a country to run smoothly. That infrastructure also needs to be maintained. The problem is that the benefits of this maintenance usually aren't clearly visible. By definition, maintenance is essentially ensuring that things remain the same.

That’s why lawmakers often avoid these infrastructure investment, realizing that the public will not be aware of its effects and will not give them credit for it. It's only when a car-packed bridge collapses or a river dam bursts that the importance of infrastructure maintenance becomes apparent.

The same thing happens with safety in the workplace. Business leaders are more interested in profits and expediting projects (visible effects) than prioritizing safety in the workplace (maintenance).

Both infrastructure and safety are too often seen as a given, and only after severe damage is done, will they be given any attention.

Streamlining Safety

To counteract this problem, the best approach is to streamline safety procedures and make them as unobtrusive as possible in the day-to-day operations of your business. For this purpose, The Checker Software is highly effective— designed to optimize safety audits and inspections without any disruption to the business. This cloud-based software can be used on any device with an internet connection, streamlining safety procedures even further.

The Checker Software makes use of an extensive library of hundreds of ready-to-use checklists for a large variety of vehicles, equipment, and other assets. Checklists can also be easily customized to fit every organization's unique needs.

The Checker Software sends out personal reminders, notifications, and alerts, red-flagging any non-compliance issues and ensuring that nothing will slip between the cracks. It will also automatically compile safety reports, sending them to designated recipients (maintenance, management, safety personnel, customers, etc.).

And thanks to the software's analytics and archiving capabilities, users can analyze data, spot developing trends, gain business insights, and maintain a historical record of all inspection and audit activity. 

Takeaway

Just like maintaining national infrastructure, a company’s safety efforts may not be “sexy.” But safety is essential to the long-term well-being of a company, and The Checker Software is a powerful tool in being as safe as possible.

Topics: safety management, safety awareness, inspection software, equipment maintenance, vehicle safety, equipment safety, 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

What Can You Audit or Inspect With The Checker Software? Almost Anything

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Fri, Feb 08, 2019 @ 08:00 AM

There's no limit to what you can inspect or audit using our comprehensive audit/inspection software solution.

Since 2000, The Checker has provided checklist books used for various equipment inspections such as forklifts, cranes, machinery, vehicles, and other such heavy commercial equipment. The company produces the best checklist books available for inspecting these assets.

The Checker now also provides online checklists that can be used on mobile devices. The Checker Software can be used for almost anything that has a list of items that can be audited or inspected. This includes virtually all types of assets, processes, environmental conditions, etc.  

For example, consider municipal public works department deals with many diverse functions, including construction, park maintenance, trash collection, and public safety. Traditionally, such an organization would have to deal with an overwhelming number of procedures and forms. With The Checker's format, however, every function the department is responsible for can be inspected and audited, with each checklist tailored to each specific function. 

Anything that needs to be inspected our audited can be added to a checklist. You can then carry a mobile device through the facility, be it a smartphone or tablet, and The Checker Software will help you determine what you need to check and how to do it. 

You will fill out the checklist on your device, and the data will be automatically compiled and sent to the appropriate people for further examination. The checklist will be customized based on the exact inspection or auditing processes you use.  

The order in which the items are listed is a key to how useful a checklist is. These items shouldn't be based on alphabetical order or something similar. They should be listed based on the logical approach of the audit or inspection itself.

Checklists can be accessed from any device that has an internet connection. You can immediately submit the results for further analysis, allowing you to track your assets and personnel better, as well as identify new trends, hazards, and other indices that matter to your business.

Takeaway

The Checker Software allows you to inspect or audit virtually anything and coordinate an inspection program in the exact way that suits your company best. For more information on The Checker, visit our website or contact us directly. 

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

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

How to Make a Comprehensive Safety Program Work

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Fri, Jan 11, 2019 @ 01:30 PM

A comprehensive safety program with regular inspections can keep personnel safe and provide many ancillary benefits.

When talking about workplace safety, most businesses think they’re at least above average. But if they were to look at the details and how equipment operates in the field on a day-to-day basis, the reality may prove to be somewhat different

Most managers are aware that safety programs help minimize work-related injuries or sudden equipment failures, as well as the inherent costs that come attached to these issues. But some are still unaware of the short-term, bottom-line benefits of safety. 

Workers may be inclined to skip on safety procedures so they can finish their work faster. Some managers may turn a blind eye to this because it's easy to take safety for granted when accidents aren't happening.

If work-related accidents (even small ones) are a fairly common occurrence, or the equipment tends to break unexpectedly, you need a comprehensive safety program. 

Key Components of a Comprehensive Safety Program

Regular safety inspections and audits

The foundation of every safety program lies with regular inspections and audits. These forms of data collection help companies detect any problems before they can result in an accident or malfunction.

Inspection tools

Personnel need to be supplied with the resources to conduct audits and inspections accurately and efficiently. For example, The Checker Software allows safety inspectors to identify trends or problems that may require additional safety measures. 

Training

Regular safety audits and inspections will bring to light any unsafe activity by personnel. You can use this information for training purposes, focusing on areas that may need improvement. 

Additional Benefits of Safety

Maintenance

Analyzing audit and inspection data will reveal long-term patterns about the likelihood of when assets will break down. You can use this information to predict wear and develop preventive maintenance strategies to counteract the issues. 

Business Processes

Audits and inspections will also point to issues causing assets to fail prematurely. For example, if a piece of equipment breaks down every time within the next month after using it for a specific operation, it's safe to conclude that personnel might be using that equipment wrong when performing that function. There could, of course, be other causes of the problem but at least you were made aware of the correlation. 

Takeaway

There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to a comprehensive safety program. Each company needs to develop its program based on its individual needs. But in every case, a tool such as The Checker Software can serve as the foundation for your safety program. For more information, contact us directly.

Topics: safety management, workplace safety, inspection software, equipment maintenance, safety audits, audit/inspection software

Tips for inspecting

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Mon, Nov 26, 2018 @ 05:07 PM

 

fleet social media

Safety is the most important reason to Inspect your fleet vehicles. Safety for Employees, yourself and for other road users. An Inspection enables you to identify and report existing defects or potential hazards and can save you problems later on.

  • Compensation Claims

If your Employees are involved in a motor vehicle incident and injured while driving a vehicle for work duties, a compensation claim will have to be filed by the employer, as that is considered a workplace injury, whether they are using a Company Vehicle, or their own.

Accident prevention is a fundamental component in maintaining a safe and healthy workplace; contributing to increased worker morale and decreased worker injury and/or absenteeism.

  • Employer Safety Policies

Employer safety policies are a critical element in reducing motor vehicle incidents. Policies not only support and reinforce traffic laws and responsibilities, they also manage road risks through programs and policies to promote safe driving behaviors and ensure worker vehicles are safe and properly maintained.

  • Inspecting your vehicle

Worn, failed or incorrectly adjusted components can cause or contribute to accidents. Preventive maintenance and Inspection procedures help to prevent failures from occurring while the vehicle is being operated.

There are many causes of motor vehicle incidents such as road conditions, distractions, weather, speeding, driving skills and health, that can contribute to collisions and injuries. Keeping your vehicles safe is one less hazard to worry about.

  • Questions for Management

1. Are there excessive demands for the repairing of your vehicles? This should be viewed as an indicator of inadequate maintenance and Inspection procedures, and a vehicle maintenance situation which could cause or contribute to accidents.

2. Are there established inspection and reporting procedures for drivers?

3. Are drivers equipped with Inspection aids and the necessary report forms?

4. Are drivers encouraged not to drive when they discover a deficiency which should cause the vehicle to be placed out-of-service?

How many times have you seen a vehicle with any of these issues?

- Only one headlight working

- One or no brake lights

- Turn signal not working

- Low tire pressure

- Unsecured load in a pickup truck

- Out of fuel

These are just a few of the many unsafe conditions that would have been caught if a proper Inspection had been performed. It doesn't matter what type of vehicle you use, always inspect it. How else can you know whether there is sufficient window washer fluid for that snow storm you are about to encounter, or whether the lights, gauges, indicators, steering, horn, brakes and flashers are working properly?

For more information about The Checker, feel free to visit our website or email us at info@thechecker.net.

Topics: why inspect?, inspection software, vehicle safety, inspection forms

Why Inspect All Vehicles?

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Mon, Nov 26, 2018 @ 09:59 AM

 

fleet social media

Safety is the most important reason to Inspect your fleet vehicles. Safety for Employees, yourself and for other road users. An Inspection enables you to identify and report existing defects or potential hazards and can save you problems later on.

  • Compensation Claims

If your Employees are involved in a motor vehicle incident and injured while driving a vehicle for work duties, a compensation claim will have to be filed by the employer, as that is considered a workplace injury, whether they are using a Company Vehicle, or their own.

Accident prevention is a fundamental component in maintaining a safe and healthy workplace; contributing to increased worker morale and decreased worker injury and/or absenteeism.

  • Employer Safety Policies

Employer safety policies are a critical element in reducing motor vehicle incidents. Policies not only support and reinforce traffic laws and responsibilities, they also manage road risks through programs and policies to promote safe driving behaviors and ensure worker vehicles are safe and properly maintained.

  • Inspecting your vehicle

Worn, failed or incorrectly adjusted components can cause or contribute to accidents. Preventive maintenance and Inspection procedures help to prevent failures from occurring while the vehicle is being operated.

There are many causes of motor vehicle incidents such as road conditions, distractions, weather, speeding, driving skills and health, that can contribute to collisions and injuries. Keeping your vehicles safe is one less hazard to worry about.

  • Questions for Management

1. Are there excessive demands for the repairing of your vehicles? This should be viewed as an indicator of inadequate maintenance and Inspection procedures, and a vehicle maintenance situation which could cause or contribute to accidents.

2. Are there established inspection and reporting procedures for drivers?

3. Are drivers equipped with Inspection aids and the necessary report forms?

4. Are drivers encouraged not to drive when they discover a deficiency which should cause the vehicle to be placed out-of-service?

How many times have you seen a vehicle with any of these issues?

- Only one headlight working

- One or no brake lights

- Turn signal not working

- Low tire pressure

- Unsecured load in a pickup truck

- Out of fuel

These are just a few of the many unsafe conditions that would have been caught if a proper Inspection had been performed. It doesn't matter what type of vehicle you use, always inspect it. How else can you know whether there is sufficient window washer fluid for that snow storm you are about to encounter, or whether the lights, gauges, indicators, steering, horn, brakes and flashers are working properly?

For more information about The Checker, feel free to visit our website or email us at info@thechecker.net.

Topics: why inspect?, inspection software, vehicle safety, inspection forms

Preparing for IIoT with Technology that Benefits You Now

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Mon, Apr 30, 2018 @ 11:23 AM

industry-2496189_1920

The so-called “Internet of Things” is changing the way we live. 

The phrase essentially refers to everyday items—things you wear, vehicles, home appliances, etc.—that are connected to the internet. The Internet of Things allows consumers to wear health-monitoring devices, remotely control appliances in their home, and drive cars that always know where they are and what the traffic is like ahead. 

Eventually, virtually every physical aspect of our lives will be connected to the internet in some way. 

In industries such as manufacturing, the Internet of Things is often referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The IIoT will have a transformative effect on how products are manufactured, sold, and distributed. Combined with emerging technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, the IIoT will enable greater efficiencies than ever before possible as machines become increasingly “smart.” 

But what does this have to do with your operation now?  

Maybe not a lot, at the moment. For most businesses, the IIoT is still largely in the future. The technology is not yet evolved enough for widespread full-scale adoption of IIoT solutions 

But you can begin to prepare for the IIoT revolution. By adopting other computing technologies that can help you increase efficiencies and develop a company culture that’s technologically friendly, you can keep pace on the road toward technological transformation. 

For example, an area in which many companies can move forward technologically is their audits and inspections. Companies that are still using paper for their audits and inspections can adopt a software solution such as The Checker Software. 

You’ll gain immediate benefits, such as improved accuracy; faster, foolproof communication of results; instant creation of corrective action steps; easy monitoring of progress toward resolution; and automatic documentation archiving for compliance and analysis purposes. 

The Checker Software is cloud-based software that requires no complicated setup or major investment, but it is a solution that can immediately allow you to embrace technology to improve efficiency (and safety). 

The full potential of the IIoT may not be realized for years, but you don’t have to wait to begin taking advantage of technology. Steps such as implementing The Checker Software for audits and inspections can help you develop the technological mindset that will be necessary to succeed in the coming years. 

Takeaway 

Don’t wait for the maturation of the IIoT to begin looking for technological solutions to improve your business. Existing technology like The Checker Software can benefit you now, while helping you prepare you for the technology of the future. 

Topics: safety management, inspection software, equipment maintenance, vehicle safety, audit software