By: Thomas Carson
April 2, 2020
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced many employers to find work from home solutions for on-site employees. Many of our customers have their entire safety teams now working from home. With the innovation of web-based systems that eliminate paper forms and processes, social distancing can be observed keeping their employees safe and healthy during difficult times.
By now many of us have settled into remote work environments. Many of our customers have their entire safety teams working from home – a process made easier with web-based systems that eliminate paper forms and processes. Still, COVID-19 does not cancel the requirement that employers ensure a safe workplace, free of hazards, for those workers who must be in the field or on-site in facilities.
An important element of ensuring a safe environment is the periodic workplace inspection. While these are most effective when done in person, there are some low cost or free options for conducting virtual inspections, and we’re going to share one with you today.
Video Conferencing Solutions
If you have a phone, then you already have access to Facetime on your iPhone or Duo on your Google phone. These are easy, free ways to hold a video call that can work to share details about the work setting.
Our team prefers using Zoom – the popular videoconferencing service – because there is more flexibility in sharing between computers and phones, and because there is an option to record a Zoom meeting, which can then be added to your system documentation within Sospes or other safety software system. There is a free version of Zoom that you can get at https://zoom.us/ for your computer. The phone versions are available in the Play Store and the App Store.
Virtual Inspections 101
Let’s walk through an example of how Hillary the safety professional can conduct and document a Workplace Inspection from home with the help of Scott who is on-site.
Hillary begins by scheduling a Zoom meeting and inviting Scott into the session – this is basically a video call. Scott is using his smartphone to display what he sees on site and Hillary is watching Scott’s screen on her computer in her office.
Once connected, Hillary can see Scott’s screen and provide direction to Scott as to what to display. She may request he begin outside the job site entrance and walk around the perimeter, recording in front as he walks. Then Scott will enter the site and systematically walk around the job site, focusing in on areas as directed by Hillary, following the inspection questions in the normal site inspection form. Hillary can check off questions on her copy of the form while reviewing the Zoom video of the site.
If a specific area or issue is identified, then Hillary can direct Scott to spend more time showing the area from different angles until she has the issue documented and either resolved or assigned for resolution. When the inspection is complete, Hillary can close the Zoom session and complete the inspection documentation, including attaching a link to the Zoom recording if desired.
Keep Rolling – Virtually
And that is all there is to it. Of course, workers on site can conduct and document inspections directly as well, then send the results to the safety professional, and should do that. But safety professionals need “eyes on” periodically for the expertise and objective perspective they bring, and this is an effective way to fulfill that responsibility when forced to work remotely.
We hope that you found this helpful – please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can help you keep your program on track. Let’s get better together.
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