Site inspections are now becoming a part of daily life within the electrical industry. Given the importance and frequency of this task it makes sense to do it right, right? We think so we’ve come up with simple tips on how you can get the most out of this process and for those of you just getting familiar with site inspections, we’ve developed a FREE site checklist template that you can use for your business.
Why use a site inspection checklist
Well as we all know the "construction" (includes electrical work) sector is a massive industry across New Zealand and Australia but it's also one of our most dangerous. For example in New Zealand worker fatalities within the construction industry are more than double the average for all other sectors.
It's the law
Basically we now have legislation in both New Zealand and Australia that is designed to protect the health and safety of workers and other people by eliminating or minimising risks arising from work or workplaces.
The best way to ensure compliance is to take all reasonably practical steps to;
- Provide a safe work environment without risk to health, mental health and safety.
- Monitor the conditions at the workplace to prevent injury or illness as a result of business activities.
- Maintain safe plant, equipment, structures and work systems.
- Allow for safe use and storage of plant and substances.
- Monitor the physical and mental health of workers.
- Provide any and all training and information necessary to protect against workplace health incidents.
Completing and documenting regular site inspections is a cracking way to demonstrate that you’ve taken the appropriate practical steps to create and maintain a safe work environment.
It's about the people
Health and safety isn't really about laws and trying to keep your ass out of jail. It's actually just about making sure your mates get to go home at the end of the day. Using a site checklist to spot and resolve dangers in the workplace is a critical step in making sure people get to go home at the end of the day.
It's good for business
You can’t run your construction and building business from a hospital bed and your aren't much use to you laid up at home with a busted arm. Your business depends on a fit and healthy work force and you need to do all that you can to keep them that way.
Implementing and maintaining a decent site inspection process is a great way to put in place processes and behaviours that will help keep everyone in tip top shape.
So given it makes sense to have a site inspection process and template then the only question is how can you get the best outcome with the least amount of effort.
Use a great template
A great site inspection template needs to be all of the following;
- Super easy to use - if it's difficult to use, people won't use it, no matter how good it looks or how big a stick they might get hit with for non compliance.
- Relevant to your trade - standardised templates are great but if none of the questions are relevant to the type of work you do of the types of sites you work on, then the template and the process is a waste of time.
- Be accessible, editable and storable - the checklist must also be accessible and editable so people can make comments and add feedback, and storable (either physically or electronically) so that if the worst happens you can demonstrate you’ve taken practical steps to minimise health and safety risks.
If you don't think your existing template is cutting the mustard why not download our FREE site inspection template a whirl.
The next step for lifting your site inspection game is to take the template online. You’re no longer using paper for email, invoicing or communicating with customer or staff so why would you stick with just a paper based checklist?
The major drawback problem with the paper based versions is accessibility and storage. To really make this process effective you need take your checklist up into the cloud, or at the very least get editable versions online and accessible via a tablet or mobile.
The three ways to go electronic with your checklist are;
- Create and save an editable checklist (word doc or excel) to the tablet or smartphone of the person responsible for completing the checklist.
- Create the checklist as a google doc and share it with the relevant people via a google drive link. This way they can access the doc from any device with an internet connection, they don't need to email a copy to anyone (as it will be saved online in your google drive) and you won't need to worry about securely storing the checklist (as it will be saved online in your google drive).
- Subscribe to a cloud based health and safety management product such as iAuditor http://safetyculture.io/iauditor/ , Donesafe https://donesafe.com/ or Blerter http://www.blerter.com/. Any of these services will drastically improve your WHS compliance and governance but they obviously come with a cost.
If you’re a Master Electricians Australia member you can also get access to ME Safety, their health and safety product designed specifically for electricians.
Get integrated with your Job Management Software
To really get next level you need to integrate your site checklist process and into your Job Management software such as Tradify. Here are just 3 possible benefits of an integrated job management software and site checklist process;
- Clarity - by saving the completed checklist to the notes section of the job file within your job management software everyone on the team can access the checklist to review the outcome and you could add tasks or items to the job to ensure any items are actioned.
- Storage - by saving the completed checklist to the job file within your job management software you can ensure the checklist is being securely stored and that it will be easily accessible in the future.
- Accountability - within your job management software you can add the completion of a site checklist as a task and allocate an owner so you can track when of it it was done and how long it took.
Whether you use our template or not making sure your template and process covers off most of the above elements will go a long way to making sure you’ve taken all practical steps to ensure the health and safety of your team.