Virtual Site Inspections
Due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic, health and safety inspections for some sites have become increasingly difficult. The continued uncertainty of the lock down and the maintenance of two-metre separation between… well everyone, is a challenge.
Although the lockdown commenced back on the 23rd March 2020, some of our clients construction sites continued to operate (safely) and we were there to support them. Many sites were not and still to this day are not permitting unnecessary visitors including Health and Safety professionals.
We found a new, temporary way to ensure sites were operating safely even though we could not be there in person. We did this in a way, which to our knowledge, has never been done before and in these unprecedented times has contributed to the Health, Safety and Wellbeing on site.
Virtual site inspections were created
We did this by arranging a suitable date and time with the site team in the same way that we would normally book inspections, except this time, we arranged what virtual platform to use. I used pretty much all the main online platforms including Teams, Zoom and Skype. Having the accessibility to use an online platform has meant that we can still be there to assist our clients.
The first thing we did as part of the inspection was to ask the managers to send over all scanned documentation via email so that it could easily be read, and this also saved time on the actual call. The managers would then take us for a walk of the site using their phones, walking slowly so that they could keep themselves safe, but also so we could see the areas we needed to and take screenshots of both compliances and non-compliances.
There are shortfalls to this method however, and we are of course restricted to seeing only what is shown to us. I found that the managers who did the walk round were very open and were happy to show every aspect of the site.
Although the lockdown is now easing and we are permitted on most sites again, this is still a service that we can provide in exceptional cases to ensure our availability to the client is always maintained.
The main shortcomings of virtual inspections are as follows:
- Face to face interaction
- Little control of what is seen and not seen
- Use of mobile phone on site
The main benefits of virtual inspections are as follows:
- Reviewing documentation prior to visit to help direct the inspection to key areas
- Verbal interaction and focus of site team
- Maintains the message even in these unprecedented times
Written by Martin Wybrow – Health and Safety Partner