29 Sep Onsite Monitoring and Inspection Checklists
Over the past 6 months, I have been approached by a number of construction and civil engineering companies to assist them in lifting their scoring in their prequalification assessments. One of the common areas of low marking has been in the area of onsite monitoring (equipment, health, environment, etc.).
Here is my take on the subject and a few ideas to help.
Since health and safety legislation came into effect in 1992, the subject of planned monitoring of the workplace and of the health of employees came into focus. I believe it was just one of those activities that usually happened after an event and became a reactive moment that became a “Let’s fix this, but at what cost?”
Health Monitoring as part of onsite monitoring
As New Zealand has become accustomed to having to invoke health and safety into the workplace, a key focal point of health and safety has been the monitoring of the health of employees who have been exposed to identified hazards and risks. This monitoring or testing has usually been of a hearing and respiratory nature, and carried out by a registered occupational nurse.
So why do we have to monitor? Easy, because sections 36 and 60 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 sets this requirement out as a responsibility of a PCBU or the officer in a business.
Putting the legal requirement aside, there are a number of other positive reasons for onsite monitoring – one is to be proactive, and to reduce the potential level of loss of productivity and financial loss to the business. By doing this in tandem with the monitoring of employees’ wellbeing, this can have a number of positive effects on a business. For some businesses, this may be considered a waste of time, but since the introduction of contractor prequalification, this is now becoming a requirement for many businesses to do business with their clients.
So here are a few ideas:
- Develop the monitoring checklist so it is specific to your business and the type of work (e.g. relates to the JSA, etc.) you undertake.
- Set up your questions (on the checklist) as a job progresses, e.g. start to finish. This may not always be practical, but maybe useful.
- Include an area for recording any non-conformances, and also any remedial action taken with names, dates, times, and expected outcome.
- Keep your questions specific.
- When setting out your questions, you may want to group the questions by frequency (e.g. weekly, fortnightly, or monthly), as there will be some items that don’t require a weekly check.
- Make your question a Yes or No answer. Either it’s happening or it’s not!
- Unless you are wanting a comparison score for comparing outcomes from month to month or site to site, don’t get into placing values, e.g., 1-5. This can be messy and end up as a numbers game, making it easy to lose sight of the real purpose of the site inspection.
- If the non-conformance is serious, remedy it immediately, and involve employees in the process.
- Train other staff to carry out the inspections, as this will involve better participation, as well as a better understanding of the business and its operations.
- Discuss the outcome of the inspection with your employees at the next briefing, and highlight any areas for concern or improvement.
- Keep records of the inspections, and from time to time, review them to see if there are any trends evolving.
Please contact us if you wish to discuss this further.