Tag: traceability

Tragic Worksite Blast Injures Five: Could it have Been Prevented?

According to Global News, an industrial facility in Sarnia, Ontario has seen a dangerous explosion and fire.  Four workers were injured and one was taken to a hospital in critical condition.  He passed away soon after.

The explosion started a fire which seriously burned several workers.  The explosion itself caused a partial collapse of the roof, which could have resulted in more fatalities had any workers been near the collapse.  In this case, there is no good news.  Whenever workers are injured, their lives are at stake.  Whether it’s from faulty machinery or improper work site procedures, it’s imperative to be cautious around machinery and hazardous materials.

No reports as of yet have found the cause of this accident, though they have ruled out any chemicals or gas explosions.  Though speculation points to faulty machinery being the origin of the explosion, an important question remains: could this tragedy have been prevented?

Innocent lives are lost every year to fatal workplace accidents.  This is just an isolated case out of hundreds reported by OSHA annually.  These tragedies, in this day and age, could be avoided with the proper tools and procedures. That’s exactly why Master Lock introduced Field iD.

Field iD is a customizable application that makes auditing and inspecting easier than ever.  With this invaluable tool, you can keep your workers safer than ever before and prevent the most common workplace risks.  With Field iD, supervisors and workers can manage and stay tuned to all the changes and inspections at the work site and beyond. Here are just a few ways Field iD can help you keep your workers safe and machinery running smoothly:

Scheduling tools: Keep track of your inspection and audit due-dates.  Stay ahead and prepared for your inspections so you can pass on-time with flying colors.

Paperless Audits and Inspections: Field iD will keep your inspections organized with checklists and one-click audits.  The paperless model allows for seamless knowledge at your fingertips so you can always stay ahead of faulty machinery, parts, and assets.  With more detailed and efficient audits and inspections, you can expect a much safer and more informed work place.

Organize your assets: Whether it’s machinery or equipment, stay on top of all of your assets with Field iD.  Assign assets to specific work sites and even workers and keep updated with the check-in/check-out functionality.  Make sure that your workers have the right tools for the job.

Safety Scoring: Go above and beyond pass-fail with safety scoring. Keeping your operation in top shape with our automated sliders and scoring query is as easy as filling out a checklist.  Customize your scoring to your work site needs and keep your jobs running smoothly.

Lockout/Tagout: Our software is an incredible lockout/tagout tool that reinforces safety procedures by giving you the power to author and assign tasks to staff.  Keeping organized can be the biggest issue with lockout/tagout procedures, but our networked software makes it easier and safer.  From assignment to review, our system is built robustly for those who want a safer workplace for their employees.

Remember that the workplace is as dangerous as the procedures are. Preventing risk while you are ahead is the best way to keep your employees safe at work.  To learn more about Field iD from Master Lock, click here.

Field ID Feature Preview: GPS

With many mobile devices having GPS (Global Positioning System) on-board we have long wanted to utilize this technology with our Field ID inspection software.  Many times we hear that having the ability to record where an asset is (ie.piece of equipment or machinery) would be quite valuable. With our next release in a few weeks you will be able to use your GPS and display a map of where equipment was first added to Field ID and where each subsequent inspection or audit took place. Let’s take a closer look at how to use this in Field ID.

Enable GPS Capture

The first step in capturing GPS is to get your system administrator to enable this feature. This is a simple on or off switch. Once turned on your mobile device will try and capture your current GPS location when adding new equipment and performing inspections. To find this go to Setup > Settings > System Settings.

Enable GPS

Capturing your GPS Location

Once you have enabled GPS you will need to connect your device to the internet, sign out of Field ID Mobile and sign back in. This will tell Field ID to start to capture GPS information. The capturing of GPS data is entirely transparent to you. No buttons to press and nothing to enter. Simply go about your daily work.

Viewing the Maps

There are three places you will be able to view maps of where your equipment or assets are. The first is the asset profile page. This will display the most recent known location of the asset.

Viewing the most recent location

Each time you complete an inspection you will be able to view a map of where the inspection took place.

GPS Location of where the inspection was done

Lastly, you can view all the inspections or events that have been performed on a specific asset. This will show you all the recorded locations for an asset.

Viewing the locations of all inspections completed

We are quite excited about having this capability in Field ID. There are many possibilities where using GPS will be quite useful and we plan on doing some more blog posts in the upcoming weeks about how to leverage GPS to increase safety and traceability of your inspections.

As always, if you have feedback on how we can make this feature or anything in Field ID better let us know!

Food Safety Data is Online – Louisiana is Ahead of the Curve

It seems that online, publicly available safety inspection data is a hot topic on our blog lately.  I originally wrote on the topic related to amusement park safety data, and then Somen had a great post yesterday on infrastructure and bridge inspections in Montreal.  This is such a hot topic, we have even coined a term for this: “safety transparency”.  Well, I don’t like to be one to beat a topic to death but I could not resist writing about Louisiana’s forward thinking with regards to food safety and restaurant inspections.

The website that is managed by the Department of Health and Hospital launched this week (www.eatsafe.la.gov) and it provides inspection information on everything from hospitals to grocery stores and restaurants.  Basically, if they serve food in Louisiana, there will be information on this website.  I tried out the site very quickly and found it to be intuitive and extremely simple to use.  You basically type in the name of the restaurant and are instantly able to view inspection results.  Field ID team members have a long standing tradition of eating crawfish and BBQ when we visit Louisiana.  Since I don’t know any restaurants by name, I simply typed in “BBQ” and sure enough I received some results.  Amazing.

The website boasts some impressive stats:

“There are nearly 34,000 food establishments that have permits in the state of Louisiana. Of the food establishments that have permits in Louisiana, there are:
– 16,747 Restaurants
– 7,140 Markets
– 4,854 Lounges/bars
– 1,077 Meat markets
– 518 Seafood Markets
– 2,351 Daycare and Residential Food Preparation
– 690 Bakeries
– 400 Mobile Food Vendors
– 220 Seasonal/Temporary Permits”

I can guarantee that with restaurants knowing this information is available online their food safety practices will improve.  I will certainly be using this site the next time I am headed out for a crawfish boil or plate of brisket in one of my favorite places to eat, Louisiana.

How Mother Nature can Teach Us a Valuable Lesson on Safety Compliance

In today’s blog post. I would like to make a very strong statement. I am extremely unsatisfied with the behavior of Mother Nature. In case some of you don’t know, our weather in Toronto has been quite moody. Last week, we were having spring weather, with nice highs of  59°F and some soothing rain. Enough to make you think that winter is officially over and that warm weather is well on its way. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

Since the beginning of this week, we have been showered with bitter cold conditions of 1°F and winter storm warning. The streets are covered with slippery ice and everyone’s been having a terrible time commuting to work and back. It struck everyone by surprise. Just when we were all glad that the bitter cold winter weather was over, apparently winter has one last gift to give.

Some of my friends even switched to wearing their spring jackets and started putting away their winter gear. Unfortunately, they’ve had to unpack all of it during this rather random winter storm.

This particular cruel joke that Mother Nature has played on us Torontonians, is actually great lesson to be prepared for the unexpected. Everything can come as a surprise. Nobody really knows when an accident is going to happen. Sometimes we might stack away our inspection data thinking that an accident will never happen. The same way we pack away our winter gear at the first sight of spring. But the truth is, that we can never predict the future. For random winter storms, we can go in and unpack our winter gear. But stacking away our inspection data is just like putting away our winter gear in a gigantic factory of clothes. If we wake up to find a snowstorm out our window, do we really have time to go through an entire factory?

The same way that mother nature likes to play tricks on you. You are almost 100% sure that spring is here and there won’t be anymore winter snowstorms. it could be warm and sunny one day, then you wake up the next and its cold and snowing.  It’s the same thing for safety compliance accidents. You think you’re doing everything right, and that an accident would never occur, so you put away your inspection data in a filing cabinet with other stacks of paper. Then one unfortunate day, an accident happens and now you have to pull out all your safety compliance records immediately. Now your task is to find the data in your never-ending stack of paper.

If we can’t find our winter gear in time to go to work in the morning, we might have to walk around in our spring jacket and maybe double layer our pants to make sure we stay warm. We suffer the consequences too. We might get sick, feel cold the entire day and flat out feel miserable. In the same way, we suffer the consequences for stacking away our paper inspections. We increase our liability for accidents and maybe even increase the chance of more accidents happen because no one is 100% sure of the inspection records.

With safety inspection software, you can pull up safety records anytime. You can ensure that you are doing everything you can to prevent an accident. If an accident happens, you can immediately trace back to when the issue arose and find out the cause. Furthermore, you can keep everyone informed about the status of their equipment. Digitizing your safety inspections can help you keep safety compliance at your fingertips, no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.

RFID in your Favourite TV Shows

Good morning Bloggers! As you all may now, I do very much enjoy my television time. It’s a great way for me to relax after a hard day’s work and keep my apartment from being a little too quiet. You would think that after a long day’s work, I would avoid thinking about things like safety compliance or RFID, I mean, I think about it everyday at work. To my surprise, this is not the case. I was sitting on my couch, watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory (I just started watching it recently, so please disregard the tardiness), when this scene came across:

Needless to say, I found myself smirking at the short skit. RFID to track your packing materials sounds rather excessive, but this is a great video for those of you who don’t quite understand how RFID tags work. Although the show presents  RFID as an excessive tracking system, they do demonstrate the amazing tracking capabilities of RFID. Maybe we don’t need to tag our clothes with RFID technology, but I think the lesson here is: if its important to you and you need to keep it accessible at all times, you should probably tag it with RFID.

Inspection Software in your Local Clinic

Good morning Bloggers!  Today’s blog is for those of you, who may not be in the safety compliance industry and still do not quite understand the battle between inspection software and paper. Although at this point, I think my blogs have done a rather convincing job. Today, I’m going to bring the real dilemma of paper vs. software straight into the comfort of your own homes. This week, I had the unfortunate task of going to the doctors. I absolutely hate going to the doctors, it’s always a long line-up with a lot of people. Somehow, I always end up sitting next to the sickest person. They’re always coughing violently and sneezing and you find it rude to move away so you’re stuck there. It’s a disaster.

But that wasn’t the only disaster. If you don’t quite understand the need for inspection software in the safety compliance field, you will definitely understand after this blog. Have you ever seen the amount of files that are in a doctor’s office? It is just file cabinets after file cabinets of patient files. There is absolutely no security and it always takes forever for them to find your file. This may not be safety compliance but it is another perfect example of how paper is making everyone’s life much more difficult.

The medical industry is much like the safety compliance industry. You can never throw away information. Just like how an inspection done 5 years ago needs to be kept in the records, so does a sickness from 5 years ago. Where our safety inspectors perform inspections on equipment, doctors do the same with people. Every piece of equipment is another file that must be kept. Every time you inspect the equipment, that file has to be reviewed; much like when you go to the doctor, he has to get your file and review your past medical history. Doctors cannot lose patient information, this is a liability risk much like if safety inspectors lost their work.

These two industries are almost identical in basic record-keeping requirements. If you’re not in safety compliance, you may not understand how much information needs to be maintained in that industry. To understand it, just look in your doctor’s office. How much easier would it be, if your local family doctor could just type in your patient number and grab your file? There’s no risk of old pages being lost in your file, or taking too much time to look up a particular patient. In the same way, every day the safety compliance industry suffers from the same issues and the same worries. Where you may see a doctor once or twice a year, each piece of equipment is also inspected in the same frequency.

The medical industry is a fine example of how paper just doesn’t make sense as a record-keeping solution. When you deal with hundreds of patients, it becomes unmanageable causing inconvenience to patients and liability risks to doctors. Whether you are in safety compliance or just your average person going to the doctor, you can see that digitizing records would be the best solution to the trouble brought to these industries by paper-based solutions. As both these industries are starting to see the value in digital solutions, I firmly believe that even as a patient, you will see a great improvement in productivity at your local clinic.

Why You Need to Take Safety Compliance into Your Own Hands

If it were up to me (aka. If I had some sort of divine power), I would make it so that no one ever made a mistake when operating heavy machinery. If I was Mother Nature, I would make sure that everyone had this surprisingly perfect knowledge of how to operate powerful machinery. OK, maybe not perfect, but at very least everyone would know how to avoid hurting people.

Unfortunately, this is impossible. Why am I all of a sudden so altruistic? I’m not. I witnessed my first car accident this week. To answer some basic questions, no, no one was hurt. No I was not behind the wheel, and no I was not the one who was hit. But I could have been.

The situation: I was crossing the street on a rainy Monday, saw the walking light turn green and started to cross the street when the person standing beside me stopped me. For a split second, my thoughts went “Oh my goodness, this crazy person is holding me back. I’m going to be late for work and probably robbed.” But no. The moment he stopped me, a car made a right turn, while its driver was looking left and BOOM, it hits the girl who was crossing the street in front of me. If I had crossed the street, it would have been me.

There are actually two direct causes to why this accident happened. The obvious reason is the driver. She was careless to not look both ways.  The more complicated cause would be the fact that the rules of the road are not perfect. While a driver is making a right turn, they tend to keep an eye on incoming traffic, rather than what’s in front of them. This is a perfect example of why you should be taking safety into your own hands: the rules don’t always cover every possible hazardous situation.

In every industry, there are safety rules and regulations. Sometimes, it is simply a set of inspections that must be done periodically. While these rules may seem enough to be compliant, how you go about following them is your choice. Performing inspections when necessary is the most basic step of being safety compliant. However, these rules have not been perfected.

How you perform your inspections, maintain records, or keep track of your equipment can not only help you be compliant, but also take safety compliance to the next level. It can help you perfect the system for everyone involved. You can help prevent accidents and ensure safety, even if the regulations don’t cover it all.  Paper based safety inspections, is the token example of something that just works and keeps you compliant, but can also allow hazardous situations to fall through the cracks of an imperfect system.

Using a digitized system to perform your inspections and maintain your records is the first step of taking safety compliance to the next level. Not only does it keep you compliant, but it also keeps all you ahead of the game. Having a digital system prevents the loss of data, therefore allowing you to have the most up-to-date inspection records without losing records in an endless road of filing cabinets. Unfortunately, rules and regulations don’t cover this possibility, but will still hold you responsible for any accidents caused by a loss of records. So why take the risk?

Performing your inspections digitally also allows you to complete inspections in a timely fashion. This way, your customers can continue with their daily duties and you can avoid overspending your man-power with a paper-and-pen system. By saving them time, your inspectors can be more accurate during an inspection and avoid a mistake due to a time limit.

With digital methods, you can take safety compliance into your own hands, and ensure that your customer, your inspectors and your company can all rest assured. Even though the rules and regulations may not cover all possible situations, you can sleep calmly at night knowing you have taken the safety inspection system one step further and stayed ahead of the game.

Modern Safety and Food Safety Traceability

Last week, the US FDA voted to work on a bill called the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.  If you want to read the entire official summary you can access it here.   The short form is that it would allow the FDA to perform rigorous inspections on the record keeping of any person that manufactures, processes, packs, distributes, receives, holds, or imports an article of food.  There are stipulations of course, the government inspector must believe there is a reasonable probability that a health concern exists.

Record Keeping is the Key

The main point in this act is the focus on record-keeping. The government inspectors are not actually going to be inspecting the facilities that the food is handled in, but rather the records that the food companies keep.  Of course, the inspector can still inspect the facilities, but the record-keeping is the focus of this new act.  Earlier this year, I spoke with a government official involved in job site safety inspections, and he too mentioned that there is a shift to inspecting safety programs and records of an organization, as opposed to inspecting the actual equipment being used.  It is very easy to tell how safety conscious an organization really is by looking through their records. It can also determine whether or not they may be compliant with certain regulations.

Safety, Traceability and Quality Control

I have written about traceability and RFID in the food industry in the past. The more I look at this industry, the more I realize that the challenges faced are not that different than oil and gas, mining and some of the other industries I am more familiar with.  The bottom line is that Excel spreadsheets may be great for minor record-keeping, but when it comes to compliance, Excel simply doesn’t cut it.  Although an investment in software for record-keeping and compliance may seem like a daunting  and costly project, this is not always the case.  Software such as Field ID, delivered over the web, can cut implementation time down drastically and allows costs to stay in control.  Put yourself in the inspector’s shoes; If you requested records from a specific organization and they were able to efficiently and confidently bring up these records in a matter of minutes, wouldn’t that be a sign that they are doing a better job at staying compliant versus an organization that couldn’t?

RFID In Our Everyday Lives Outside of Inspection and Safety Compliance

RFID seems to be sneaking into our everyday lives more and more these days.  Below are three RFID applications that show us RFID is going mainstream.

Border Control

I now officially carry around an RFID tag most of the time (no, I am not wearing an Evotech harness around) ; I applied for a Nexus card.  For those of you who don’t know, the Nexus program is a “trusted traveler” program that allows residents of Canada and the US to cross the border quicker than usual.  When driving over the border, I hold up my RFID card and point it at a reader.  An LED display then shows the number of cards scanned in the car.  What’s really neat about this program is the fact that identification is performed by an eyeball scan when crossing airport security.

Portable Computing

It has been rumored that the next iPhone (the iPhone 5) will have NFC ability.  NFC stands for Near Field Communication, and is a type of RFID.  I recently read on Boy Genius that the NFC may be used to support portable computing.  To be clear, this could mean that the your iPhone will store information about your user profile on your Mac.  When you wave your phone near another NFC enabled Mac, your settings about applications and some data are copied to the other device.  It will be like sitting at your computer at home, even though you’re out.  Instead of using VNC, you would just need your phone.

If NFC becomes more popular in smart phones this will be a huge step forward to making RFID as accessible as barcodes.

Your Best Reason to Why Inspection Software is Not For You

There are some moments in life, where you just look at someone else, and you can’t for the love of you, figure out WHY they would do what they are doing. I look down the street, to see one of my friends using a green-screen phone and I think to myself “Why are you STILL using a green screen phone when you can get a smartphone for almost no money these days?” It just doesn’t make sense. Then I spend hours personally being frazzled up over the issue. Sometimes, I would spend hours trying to convince them that it is the dumbest idea. True Story.

In a similar situation, I couldn’t for the love of me, understand why people still use paper to do safety inspections. It boggled my mind, until I finally discovered the most common and ultimate reason for why people refuse to switch to a paperless solution for safety inspections: “What we use right now, works for us.

Now we’re not here to say that paper doesn’t work. The green screen phone maybe missing some key functionalities but of course it still functions as a phone. It still dials in and out, it can show you who’s calling, and you can probably receive text messages too. But what are you missing out on? Maybe you’re missing out on wireless headsets, and with the new driving laws, you can’t phone anyone when you’re driving. Maybe you’re missing out on a QWERTY keyboard for text messaging that could save you time. Maybe its as simple as you’re missing out on a phone that could also function as a camera or a multimedia player. You never cared that you carried an MP3 player, a camera, and a phone all separately, but maybe it’s because you don’t realize that one smartphone can be all three devices.

Paper works, of course. I mean, safety compliance was still an issue 30 years ago, and they used paper. So it should function just fine. Paper (like a green screen phone) can also provide the basic functionalities: It can record the inspection and be filed in big filing cabinets for traceability. If you need to find a report, you would be able to, but it would take time. But also like a green screen phone, you have to ask: what are you missing out on?

Where a smart phone can save you time in providing you a QWERTY keyboard, safety inspection software can save you time by providing you with instant traceability. Any records can be instantly accessible through software, rather than spending hours in filing cabinets. Maybe you’re missing out on the mobility of safety inspection software and rugged devices; You can’t guarantee the safe return of a paper-based inspection checklist in a harsh environment. But you can have such a guarantee using a rugged device to perform inspections.

And finally, maybe it’s just as simple as missing out on some extra features of an inspection software that paper reports just don’t provide as an option. What if you actually needed to take a picture of a deficiency? You don’t want to have to carry a camera, take a picture, develop the film, then attach it to your paper-based report. Since the process is so long and difficult, maybe you don’t take any pictures. But since safety inspection mobile software can allow you to take pictures with your inspections, now pictures are a perfect new feature to add to your records.

So yes, paper may work for you. Maybe you don’t want to disrupt your current workflow. But have you ever wondered what the advantages of safety inspection software could provide? What exactly are you missing out on?