3 Benefits of Using Checklists to Improve Safety of Fleet Operations
While a checklist may sound awfully routine, it’s a tool that can truly help protect your company, assets and employees in the increasingly complex world of crane management.
One of the top priorities of a fleet manager is to ensure their equipment is always operated safely. Exactly how do they do this? It certainly isn’t luck, but a combination of things such as having well-maintained equipment, certified operators, a lift plan and a safety director to oversee it all.
How can you ensure that your equipment is operated at the highest levels expected by your customer? In other words, how can we minimize human error?
There is a tool, a function built into many fleet management systems that can help prevent the normalization of human error, the humble checklist.
A checklist is a user-definable list of tasks that may be unit specific, or job related. Fleet management software and mobile fleet management apps make creating routine checklists easy. They then can be sent to field personnel’s mobile devices to ensure that daily safety tasks are not only carried out consistently, but with a digital record recorded to mitigate liability.
Let’s examine three benefits of using checklists with centralized fleet management software:
1. Promote Job Site Safety
- Assign unit specific checklists for daily crane inspection or assembly/disassembly
- Assign job related checklists for critical lifts, job hazard analysis, powerline safety analysis or crew inspections
- Ensure checklists are completed
- Checklists are displayed as a notification on the electronic job ticket of the crane operator’s mobile device and job tickets cannot be competed until checklists are filled out
- The notification is set up to intentionally prompt the user at the appropriate point during the job to promote accuracy and accountability
- A checklist allows for multiple electronic signatures to be captured for a crew and/or customer to sign off on a completed site inspection or JHA (Job Hazard Analysis), which decreases risk and liability by ensuring all personnel are clear of the tasks, hazards, and responsibilities of all parties involved [OSHA 1926:1404]
2. Improve Communication Across Departments
- Review the details of completed checklists in real-time
- Safety directors and dispatchers back at the crane yard can see when checklists are completed or in progress on a job
- Deficiencies noted during the completion of a checklist are instantly communicated without phone calls, text messages or time spent completing an additional paper form
- Create work orders quickly and efficiently
- Deficiencies noted by the crane operator are automatically visible to the service manager right on their desktop within the fleet management software
- Evaluate deficiencies and if necessary, create multiple work orders with a single click to initiate or schedule the repair
- Reduce errors
- Information is only entered once, and repetitive forms are no longer necessary to communicate information from one party to the next
- Fleet management software enables all checklists to be completed, work orders created, and repairs performed without printing a single piece of paper.
- Establish a full-circle safety procedure across multiple departments
- The dispatcher assigns the checklists, the operator completes the checklists, the service manager reviews deficiencies and the safety director can oversee the entire process
- Easily verify that reported deficiencies have been addressed, repaired and that the operator has been notified – meeting compliance requirements of FMCSA and other legal organizations
- Close the gap that results from poor communication, redundant forms and human error
3. Document Compliance for Regulatory Requirements
- Automate processes to make compliance easier and foster a safer environment for your personnel while promoting accountability in the field and office
- Create a digital trail of all documentation to meet legal requirements of organizations such as FMCSA, OSHA and ANSI Standards
- Allow your fleet management software to automate compliance efforts within your organization to meet regulatory requirements
Checklists are not a new concept, but digitally administering them in conjunction with a centralized fleet management software system and mobile app for fleet management can improve the safety of your operations. Minimize deviation from acceptable operating standards and move closer to achieving excellence one checklist at a time.