The Checker Blog

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

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 software, inspection best practices, inspection management, inspection basics, inspection checklists, 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: audit/inspection software, safety audits, equipment maintenance, inspection software, workplace safety, safety management

Tips for inspecting

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

 

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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 forms, inspection software, vehicle safety

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 forms, inspection software, vehicle safety

Preparing for IIoT with Technology that Benefits You Now

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

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

If a Workplace Accident Occurs, Do You Have a Defensible Position?

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 @ 08:30 AM

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We often talk about “being compliant” because our audit/inspection software and inspection checklist books are designed to keep you compliant with applicable health and safety regulations.

However, we’re aware that achieving “100 percent” compliance is a considerable, perhaps impossible, challenge. Even if you’re using tools like The Checker and are providing proper training and incentivization for a strong health and safety program, there’s always the possibility of human error, of someone accidentally doing something that’s against regulations. And sometimes personnel just don’t do what they’re supposed to do.

That’s why (while perfect compliance is always the goal), it’s important to value the concept of having a “defensible position” if anything goes wrong. In general (not legally specific) terms, what this means is that you can demonstrate that you’ve made a good faith effort to do everything practical to keep your personnel and the public safe.

Of course, there are very precise requirements from regulatory agencies like OSHA, and if you haven’t met one of these requirements when you’re inspected—or when an accident occurs—you are liable to substantial fines. But the amount of these fines (and sometimes whether you get a warning or a fine) is clearly influenced by your defensible position—how well you’re able to prove that your company has done its best to keep the workplace safe and healthy and that the infraction wasn’t due to organizational negligence.

This defensible position is also critical if your company ends up in court, fighting charges or lawsuits claiming negligence.

The good news is that compliance solutions have benefits beyond creating a defensible position. First and most importantly, striving for compliance helps keep people safe. For example, auditing or inspecting assets with The Checker satisfies regulatory requirements and provides ready documentation of compliance, but also keeps unsafe equipment from being used and hurting people.

And more often that not, compliance solutions lead to process and quality improvements that benefit the bottom line. Think about the value of discovering a defect that needs immediate correction to avoid a productivtity-sapping breakage during the next shift. Or consider how inspection results can be used to identify the durability of a particular brand of asset. In ways like this, and many others, compliance correlates with efficiency.

So, never stop pursuing compliance but realize that even if you never achieve 100 percent compliance, your pursuit will result in a defensible position that can save major dollars. And understand that the pursuit will keep your personnel and the public safer, while likely increasing profitability.

Takeaway

You can never ensure perfect compliance, but with compliance tools like The Checker you can ensure that you’re doing all you can to be compliant, have a defensible position in case you’re accused of negligence, and are reaping the many associated benefits of compliance efforts.

Topics: inspection software, audit software, safety audits, legal compliance

Telematics Software Isn’t All You Need to Manage Your Vehicles

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, Feb 01, 2018 @ 12:30 PM

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Telematics software is a powerful tool for fleet management, but it’s not a sufficient solution for managing vehicle inspections.

With its remote diagnostic capabilities, telematics can help with identifying vehicle performance problems, such as a vehicle’s current fuel efficiency, but it can’t replace the need for a visual inspection. Telematics isn’t going to tell you, for example, that there’s a crack in the bucket of a backhoe.

Much telematics software isn’t even designed to provide useful information about a vehicle’s condition. Instead, it is designed to monitor driver behavior, such as location, average speed, braking tendencies, fuel usage, and idle times.

However, some telematics software does monitor conditions relative to maintenance, such as the level of oil and other fluids. Some solutions can even be used to intelligently schedule preventative maintenance based on a vehicle’s condition and shop resources.

But even the telematics software designed to facilitate predictive maintenance isn’t designed to ensure compliance and documentation of inspections performed. Just because a vehicle can automatically communicate its condition doesn’t free you from the obligation to conduct and document inspections as legally required.

Ideally, a telematics solution that provides diagnostic data about a vehicle’s condition would be used in conjunction with audit/inspection software designed specifically to guide, document, and report vehicle inspections.

The telematics software can help maintenance personnel keep on top of important vehicle metrics, while a robust audit/inspection software solution (e.g., The Checker Software) can be used to detect defects that are undetectable by telematics software, as well as to provide readily available inspection documentation for compliance and liability-minimizing purposes.

In addition, you can instantly communicate results to the people you choose, add notes and pictures, and assign tasks to resolve defects. And the inspection data you gather is not only important to demonstrate your commitment to safety, it can be used (via configurable dashboards) to guide decisions about operational, maintenance, and procurement issues.

No telematics software can do that. And no telematics software can be used to audit or inspect not just vehicles but also facilities, jobsites, and any other asset you need to check.

So, yes, telematics software has its place—keeping tabs on assets—but it’s no replacement for audit/inspection software that can manage all aspects of a comprehensive program designed to improve safety and ensure compliance. Telematics software is a valuable tool, but it’s not an inspection management tool.

Takeaway

If you’ve invested in (or thinking about) telematics software for your fleet, don’t presume that it’s a sufficient replacement for software designed to manage audit and inspection processes. You need both.

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

Using Software for Audits and Inspections: It's Not Rocket Science

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Wed, Jan 24, 2018 @ 08:00 AM

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Companies that aren’t using software for audits and inspections often cite the following concerns when justifying why they’re still using paper forms: 

  • Software will be difficult and time-consuming to set up 
  • Software will be challenging for personnel to learn how to use 
  • Software will be met with resistance from older personnel who aren’t computer-savvy. 

While we understand that the uncertainty of change can be worrisome, these concerns are not legitimate reasons to put off a move to software, which is the inevitable future of audits and inspections. With The Checker Software, each of these worries is unfounded. 

Easy to Get Started 

The Checker Software is a cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, and it requires no IT expertise to begin using it. There’s no loading and technical configuration of software required. There’s no complex integration with existing internal systems. You simply create an account on the web, log in, and begin using the software’s many features—on any device connected to the internet (PC, tablet, or phone). 

Easy to Use 

Put simply, if you can press buttons, you can use The Checker Software. Its user interfaces, dashboards, and communication and reporting tools are so intuitive that they’re self-explanatory. The software guides users to such a degree that there’s virtually no learning curve. If you can fill out a simple application online, you can use The Checker Software with no problem.  

The Checker Software is not a confusing, intricate, difficult-to-master software tool like an ERP system, in which audit and inspection functionality is buried amid many other functions. Our software’s sole purpose to make it easier and more-efficient to conduct audits and inspections. 

Easy for Non-Techies to Like 

Older workers are often stereotyped as being reluctant (or even unable) to use computer technology. But this is largely a myth. Computers are so ingrained in our society now that, as the saying goes, “my grandmother is on Facebook.” The internet, email, and texting have been around for more than 20 years—and all put the most extremely technophobic people (who probably aren’t still in the workforce) have become accustomed to using these tools.  

Even those who were initially reluctant have come to appreciate the advantages of computer technology, and they aren’t going to balk at a software tool that will make it easier for them to conduct audits and inspections. 

And think about younger workers whom you’re hiring and promoting. Even if they’re not “technical” people, per se, they’re likely to regard paper audits and inspections as antiquated and inefficient. When choosing between working for a company that uses software and one that uses paper, they’re probably going to consider the one that uses software as more desirable and modern (all else being equal). 

Takeaway 

You can gain the many benefits of software in your audit and inspections processes with The Checker Software—without the challenges of implementing and using a complex tool that requires technical aptitude. 

Topics: risk assessments, inspection software

Risky Business

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Mon, Jan 15, 2018 @ 03:12 PM

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The smaller a company, the riskier its workplace risk.

A single serious accident or fine can have a disastrous effect on a small to medium-sized business (SMB) operating on a tight budget.

If the company (or an employee) is negligent, an accident can expose an SMB to crushing civil judgments, fines, increased insurance premiums, and legal fees—possibly even criminal liability. Even without an accident, a visit from a regulatory agency (OSHA, Ontario Ministry of Labour, etc.) can result in substantial fines for failing to meet minimum requirements for mitigating workplace risk.

That’s why anyone who has an ownership stake and/or is responsible for managing workplace risk in an SMB shouldn’t be satisfied until they are confident that:

  • All personnel have been adequately trained in general workplace safety, as well as safety for their specific roles
  • Workplace safety policies and procedures are clearly defined and continually communicated to personnel
  • All workplaces are compliant with applicable safety regulations
  • Personnel have the tools necessary to keep the workplace as safe as possible
  • Workplaces and equipment are continually inspected to ensure they’re safe.

Protecting Against the Risk

The day-to-day pressures of operating an SMB can easily result in insufficient attention paid to managing that risk. The company’s leaders gnawingly worry about what could go wrong, but they feel they can’t take the time or spend the money to do anything different than what they’ve been doing. They’re just hoping for the best, playing Russian Roulette.

A failure to act is often due to uncertainty about how to begin. Do we need to better train our personnel? Should we strengthen our safety policies and procedures? Do we need to have stronger enforcement of inspections? Do we need to inspect more things?

The answer to all these questions could be “yes,” and that could be overwhelming. A company’s leadership might not know where to start.

We suggest considering audit/inspection software such as The Checker Software, which has a multitude of features designed specifically to improve audit and inspection processes, thereby mitigating workplace risk. In addition to enabling more-accurate audits and inspections, this software can be used to teach, communicate, and enforce policies and procedures. And its reporting features can provide company leaders with the information they need to be confident in their business’s management of workplace risk.

Whatever you do, do something. Make a decision about how to reduce workplace risk, and start doing it.

The Bottom Line

Workplace risk is such a major threat to SMBs that it’s bad business not to make it a top priority, and owners and executives who are worried about their business’s workplace risk shouldn’t delay in addressing the issue.

Topics: risk assessments, inspection software