In this article, we will talk about the importance of site inspection to ensure you have adequate knowledge about its technicalities, and you can determine if your safety program is compliant.
The definition of site inspection
A site inspection can be described as a series of assessments and verification processes to ensure that working conditions in a work site adequately meet international and industry-specific safety standards. Traditionally, a site inspection is conducted using field visits and paper checklists; however, this method is slowly becoming obsolete. Nowadays, most organisations have switched to digital tools to improve efficiency and streamline processes.
The reason why digital tools are taking over site inspections is that this process is not a single event but instead covers a wide range of topics, including building code, compliance, fire safety, occupational hazards, and so on. Inspectors typically spend most of the time observing work areas, watching processes unfold and interviewing employees to better grasp the conditions on the ground. Every trip ends with a customised report that outlines any issues found during the inspection and also contains the status of previous issues to which mitigating actions were applied. Such reports are utilised to make corrective action plans and to ensure that all standards are continually implemented. This is why digital tools have revolutionised the entire arena, simplifying the entire process and automating time-consuming and labour-intensive tasks.
Importance of site inspections
Site inspections are vital because they help to ensure that work sites remain safe and compliant with regulations. The many benefits of site inspections include the following:
Quality control: Site inspections help ensure that every individual involved in the project understands what is expected from them. This helps to maintain quality by keeping the project on track and adhering to predetermined specifications, plans, budgets or timelines.
Hazard identification: Construction sites are fraught with inherent risks and hazards. Projects often involve power tools, heavy equipment, hazardous chemicals, and other risks which can hamper the safety of workers. Site inspections help identify potential hazards before an accident occurs, guaranteeing that everyone within the work site is safe.
Continued compliance: Site inspections ensure the construction company complies with applicable regulations. As a result, it helps to protect workers and avoid costly penalties.
Early detection of defects: The most significant benefit of inspections is that they can help detect faults long before they damage anyone. This allows the problem to be addressed before moving on to the next stage, thereby preventing financial losses. In this manner, inspection teams help preserve finances by avoiding rework or expenses associated with delays.
Organise inspection data: Inspection results documents are comprehensive and transparent, helping in auditing as they show what the company has done to detect flaws and what corrective actions they have taken to mitigate them. An added benefit of these thorough inspection records is that they provide a reliable reference for doubts or future disputes.
Continuous improvement: When a site inspection is done correctly, it can identify areas for improvement. As inspection data is tracked over time, companies can identify hidden patterns or trends that would otherwise have been overlooked, allowing them to improve their efficiency, compliance or safety.
When should we carry out site inspections?
A site inspection can be done during the following:
Pre-construction phase: A pre-construction site inspection occurs when you visit the property before the construction starts. During this inspection, inspectors will evaluate the area around the site to see if it is suitable for construction and if it follows all the rules from the local authorities.
During the project: Site inspections are commonly done as the project progresses. Here, someone looks at the construction project to see if it is going well. Such inspections are utilised to track if the project is going as per plan and within budget.
Project close-out: The final site inspection is done at the construction close-out to ensure that everything has been completed per the contract. Following this confirmation, the building can be utilised as intended.
Application of site inspections for different industries
Different industries can benefit from site inspections, including:
Construction industry, as projects are often complex with different trades working on site. Keeping track of everything can be difficult; therefore, site inspections ensure everything is going as planned.
Healthcare, regular site inspections can help the organisation comply with all relevant regulations and identify areas of improvement.
Manufacturing, where inspections can help identify any issues that have the potential to escalate, in addition to verifying if the processes meet all relevant safety and quality standards.
Foodservice, where regular site inspections can help ensure the eatery meets all relevant regulations.