Conducting safety inspections or rounds in the workplace is essential for any proactive safety management system. Current technology simplifies this surveillance for HSE professionals in the field.
In the last few years, the emergence of new technologies has revolutionised the way information is gathered in companies. Indeed, "business-specific" applications are being more and more developed on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This change has a positive impact on working conditions: no more double input on the computer when going back to work is less time consuming, it reduces errors and frustration.
The HSE department is fully concerned. Its presence in the field is essential for health and safety surveillance and, for example, carrying out supervision or safety rounds. If HSE coordinators or managers used to be stuck with their pencil and paper when carrying out their inspections, they can now rely on digital technology. Indeed, checklist templates can be digitally transposed and personalised.
What is the HSE checklist?
A checklist is a list of items that need to be checked, monitored or inspected. It is used in all sectors of activity (hotels, industry, pharmaceuticals, etc...) and can be done daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. There is a variety of HSE checklists: hygiene checks, HSE rounds, equipment checks, use of chemicals, etc... A checklist must be tailored to a given sector, equipment or position and must cover all regulatory compliance requirements.
The use of HSE checklists ensures that important steps or checkpoints are not forgotten. It ensures that occupational health and safety instructions are implemented and complied with. It also serves as proof that HSE inspections, safety or supervision rounds have actually been carried out.
Why a checklist on a smartphone or tablet?
Traditional paper/pencil based methods of performing HSE inspections can be time consuming and difficult to manage. Indeed, they usually involve retyping work on a computer. By digitising the checklist, you save time on unnecessary administrative tasks and simplify HSE management.
There are a lot of benefits to it. Here are a few of them:
- More fluency in the field: the digitised checklists allow HSE professionals to remain mobile in the field, covering a large number of sites and worksites with simplified data entry. Indeed, some fields are automatically pre-filled, such as geolocation data. Tactile inputs are designed for mobile use with Voice Dictation capabilities. Finally, the necessary visual checks are captured using the smartphone's camera.
- Real-time results: mobile usage provides real-time results. Indeed, it is easier to access and analyse the collected data and even share the results anywhere and anytime. It is also easier to access previous data and reports for comparison, corrective action or additional verification. This improves transparency within the company and also speeds up the time it takes to implement corrective actions.
- More secure and optimal data storage: Paper checklists are difficult to process and subject to physical hazards such as storage. It's hard to recover a paper checklist after coffee has been spilled on it... While with online storage, information can be accessed at any time and from anywhere in seconds.
- More flexible management: the huge benefit of a dedicated solution is the customisation. Indeed, each checklist is unique and needs to be adapted to the needs of the company, business sectors, company size, etc...
In the context of COVID-19, what does it represent?
In this COVID-19 context, an HSE checklist allows us to be guided for the daily checks and to implement the statistical tool in order to control the following elements day after day:
- Respect of physical distancing
- Traffic plan: one-way
- Capacity gauges in communal areas (meeting rooms, cafeterias...)
- Presence of collective protections (screens...)
- Management of PPE stocks (masks, gowns, visors...)
- Management of hydroalcoholic gel stocks
- Room cleaning plan
- Management of a COVID case
Failure to comply with HSE instructions may result in fines or, worse, endanger people's lives. Conducting HSE inspections and HSE rounds in the workplace helps to avoid such non-compliance and prevent occupational incidents, injuries and diseases. Now is the time to use technology to help HSE professionals in their prevention mission to better monitor, act and make workplaces safer.
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