In the construction industry, equipment plays a crucial role in completing projects safely and efficiently. Equipment expenses are also one of the most significant costs faced by construction firms. However, like all machinery, equipment can break down or malfunction if not properly maintained and inspected. This is where equipment inspections come in.
In this article we’ll explore some of the benefits of performing equipment inspections as well as the advantages of digital inspections over paper.
Improve Company and Jobsite Safety
According to a US Bureau of Labor Statistics study, 15% of all workplace fatalities in the construction industry were caused by equipment-related incidents. Performing equipment inspections can improve safety on construction sites in several ways.
- Regular inspections can identify equipment defects or malfunctions that could potentially cause accidents, such as faulty brakes, worn-out tires, or malfunctioning safety guards. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent accidents from occurring.
- Inspections can help ensure that equipment is being used and maintained properly, which can reduce the risk of accidents caused by operator error and equipment malfunction.
- Regular inspections can promote a safety culture on the construction site, emphasizing the importance of safety and encouraging workers to report any safety concerns.
Overall, performing equipment inspections can help identify and mitigate safety risks, promoting a safer working environment for everyone on the construction site.
Identify Cost Saving Opportunities
By catching small problems early, companies can avoid costly repairs and replacements down the line. For instance, a report by McKinsey & Company found that predictive maintenance can reduce equipment downtime by up to 50% and increase equipment availability by up to 15%, resulting in significant cost savings.
Additionally, a study by the Aberdeen Group found that companies with effective equipment maintenance programs had a 10% lower overall maintenance cost and a 32% reduction in unplanned downtime compared to those without such programs. Performing equipment inspections on a regular basis can help identify wear and tear on equipment that could lead to more significant issues and unplanned down time if left unchecked. In addition to reducing direct maintenance costs, getting more hours out of your equipment before disposing of it means that you can amortize the ownership cost over a longer period of time, which effectively reduces hourly equipment rates.
Equipment that is properly maintained and inspected will not only perform better and last longer, but it will also improve your job costs. Any foreman or operator will tell you that when a machine goes down, it typically happens at the worst possible time, leaving a whole crew standing around waiting on the mechanic to arrive. These costs of delays easily have the potential to be far greater than the cost of the actual repairs to the machine. By implementing an effective equipment inspection and preventative maintenance program, construction companies can ensure that their equipment is always in top condition and ready to work when needed.
Easily Comply with Regulations
Both OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and MSHA (Mining Safety and Health Administration) require that all heavy equipment be inspected before each shift and periodically during use. These regulatory bodies can and do impose penalties on both companies and operators for failing to perform equipment inspections. The penalties can vary depending on the severity of the violation, but they typically include fines and citations. The penalties for failing to perform equipment inspections can be significant, especially if the violation is classified as willful or repeat. Willful and repeat violations can result in fines of up to $145,027 per violation.
Why Ditch the Paper for a Digital Equipment Inspection Process?
While paper-based inspections have been a standard in the industry for many years, digital equipment inspections offer several advantages over traditional paper inspections. Digital inspections allow for faster, more accurate inspections, automatic documentation and record-keeping, greater accountability, and real-time tracking of maintenance needs.
Faster, More Accurate Inspections
Digital inspections in Smart Construction Field can be completed more quickly and accurately than paper inspections. This is because digital inspection forms are pre-filled with relevant information pertaining to the specific machine being inspected, and equipment operators can simply check boxes or use drop-down menus to record their findings. They can even attach photos and video, giving maintenance staff as much information as possible before visiting the machine. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and reduces the risk of errors.
Automatic Documentation and Record-Keeping
Even when paper inspections are being completed, many are lost before the proper action can be taken. They might blow out of the foreman’s truck, get dropped in the mud, or operators can leave them in their lunch box. Plus, even when they do make it to the office, someone must decipher the chicken scratch and manually record the data. Digital inspections automatically generate documentation and records, eliminating the need for manual record-keeping. This makes it easy to collect actionable information, track and analyze inspection data, identify trends, and make informed decisions about equipment maintenance and replacement.
Real-Time Tracking of Maintenance Needs
Digital inspections can be linked to maintenance management software, allowing maintenance teams to track equipment maintenance needs in real-time. This means that maintenance issues can be addressed quickly and efficiently, reducing downtime, and ensuring that equipment is always in top condition.
Equipment inspections are essential for maintaining safety, efficiency, and compliance in the construction industry. Digital inspections offer several advantages over traditional paper inspections, including faster, more accurate inspections, automatic documentation and record-keeping, and real-time tracking of maintenance needs. By implementing an effective equipment inspection program as well as a preventive maintenance program, construction companies can ensure that their equipment is well maintained, safe to operate and has the lowest possible operating costs.