How to do your site inspections and site inspection checklist more efficiently
What is a site inspection checklist?
Site inspection checklists are one of the most powerful tools construction and industrial companies have for keeping their people, sites and assets safe and working properly.
Sites are inherently dangerous places, harbouring heavy machinery and equipment, lots of moving pieces, and countless people. In order to manage sites and all of these moving pieces before disaster strikes and it's 'too late', we have proactive measures that are taken and documented frequently in order to try prevent these issues arising in the first place.
One such measure is the site inspection and site inspection checklist.
The best and most reliable method we have for performing a site inspection is the site inspection checklist - where we check off a of set items which we know to be important in that work or the functioning of that item in order to deem it safe or 'okay'.
The purpose of a site inspection checklist is multi-faceted. The main reason for them is to keep people safe and work moving forward properly, but there are some other positive outcomes which stem from conducting site inspections properly which include:
- Entering data into checklists manually
- Accountability when something goes wrong. If a machine breaks down or someone gets injured in an avoidable accident, people can look back at the checklist and understand who's job it was to check that (where applicable)
- Inspectors and auditors who arrive on your sites will find bulletproof inspection records
- By conducting checklists, people find minor problems and issues which can be rectified before they become larger issues and blowouts which cost more time, effort and money
- People are more likely to take care and being more cognisant of what they are doing in the knowledge that it will be inspected
So if we all agree that site inspections are important and beneficial, how can we conduct and manage site inspections and site inspection checklists more efficiently to optimise our time and be in a position to best action the findings and insights derived from site inspections?
How are site inspections managed today?
To date, site inspections have been managed without modern technologies and softwares. Many companies today still use word documents, excel spreadsheets, PDFs and paper-based forms to create, manage and track their site inspections.
While this does 'work', it saps and wastes a lot of resource and engineering time - with people having to spend decent portions of their work days:
- Downloading, uploading and emailing checklists back and forth
- Formatting word documents into PDFs and vice versa
- Reconciling the information captured on site in spreadsheets and CSVs
- Manipulating this data into charts and graphs to discover insights about site inspections
Because site inspections have been performed like this for so long, people have become accustom to doing work like this - but there is a better way today.
How to capture your site inspection checklist more efficiently
Modern technology has made it far more efficient to capture, organise and track your site inspection checklists. In addition to speed, Site inspection software is also bringing new clarity and insight to site inspections by aggregating and processing all that checklist information quickly.
These new efficiencies start at the source of the document.
Instead of completing a site inspection on a piece of paper, word doc or spreadsheet, these softwares make it possible to complete the inspection inside of that software.
This gives you a number of advantages and improved efficiencies over and above traditional documents:
- You can complete site inspection checklists on any device, and the checklists were designed and formatted for each of those specific devices including mobile, tablet and computer
- These forms have smart logic which guides people through the process and streamlines the form to only feature questions which need to be asked and answered
- When forms are 'completed', the information is automatically pushed into the cloud where it is automatically organised and stored securely (so it can't get lost etc.)
- You can take photos, videos and markup PDFs and drawings to support the inspection being conducted, and these items are attached to the inspections to keep all of your important information together
- You can clone digital forms and signoff on forms digitally, saving time and improving record keeping
- Checklists have versioning control and audit trails making them immune to tampering and other issues
These are just a few of the benefits which are 'available' to those using digital inspection tools.
People are so used to using their mobile devices and the experience is so much easier that it also increase inspection participation and decrease the changes of pencil whipping or the tick and flick - where people just flow through the checklist without paying attention and it becomes a pointless exercise.
Getting paper-based records out of the cloud when you need them
Some companies worry about going digital because of the way their processes are setup today, and how they manage their checklists and documents.
But most softwares cater to both the digital and analog worlds well. It's easy to manage site inspection checklists digitally - from start to finish - and then print out, download or share a checklist record when required.
You can see an example of this below.
The weekly safety inspection checklist has been captured and managed in the software, until it has needed to be printed.
Every checklist which is downloaded, printed or shared comes attached with a company logo and branding, giving you professional looking records and reducing the paper trail which stems from managing checklist manually from beginning to end.
Try a smart and digital site inspection checklist for free now.
How to organise and track all of these site inspections effectively
The other major benefit of software, as we eluded to before, is in its ability to 'crunch the numbers' quickly and efficiently.
Instead of having a bunch of trained engineers, project managers and administrators combining data from a bunch of checklists, software can combine and aggregate data automatically.
This information can then be displayed in dashboards and charts - which can be pivoted and toggled with ease. In addition, these analytics being pulled from site inspections are being shown in real-time, meaning you are seeing exactly what's happening when it happens.
You can see how many inspections have been completed; see how many checklists certain teams or individuals have completed; and see the status and outcomes of these inspections and more.
This enables companies and projects to be even more proactive in spotting trends preventing issues before they arise - giving people the power and control to make better decisions - as well as to hold people accountable for the way they perform and manage those all important site inspections.
Digitising one checklist or going completely paperless
The transition to new tools and technologies can be a hard one, and its best when it is staged or managed gradually. The great thing about site inspections and site inspection checklists is that it's easy to test and trail the new technologies.
You can experiment with a digital form for safety or quality inspections, and gather feedback from your teams as to how it's been going.
While a paperless future will likely arrive at some point, it's worth investing the time and effort today to begin building the efficiencies which are inherent in managing your site inspection checklists with software - rather than manual methods.
You can try a couple of our site inspection checklists below for free, or learn more about the software here if you are interested in streamlining all of your site inspections (as well as some other 'jobs').