Safety Inspections: Continuous Improvement, Effectiveness & Efficiency
- Erich Fruchtnicht (Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC)) | John W. Fellers (Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC)) | Clay D. Hanks (Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC))
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- July 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 28 - 35
- 2013. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 69 since 2007
- Show more detail
The Texas A&M Health Science Center’s (TAMHSC) environmental, health and safety office is charged with ensuring the safety of all faculty, staff, students and visitors at eight geographically dispersed campuses across Texas. Paramount to this responsibility is identifying and assessing hazards so that appropriate measures can be taken to provide a safe environment and train personnel accordingly.
To accomplish this, staff regularly perform de-tailed inspections of all TAMHSC facilities. Based on data collected, they recommend facility improvements for code compliance, take proactive steps to address potential hazards, and create and assign training for faculty, staff, students and researchers to address any of the noted safety deficiencies.
The detailed nature of these safety inspections had historically required the focused time and effort of several staff professionals. In fact, completing a full inspection of some larger TAMHSC facilities required a three-member team working approximately four 8- to 10-hour days. On average, it took an additional 32 employee-hours to enter the handwritten data into a computer and generate reports that were, on average, approximately 60 pages in length. The process of reentering data once the inspection was complete introduced the risk of transcription errors. This risk was compounded if the original author of the inspection notes did not enter the data due to the subjectivity of handwriting interpretation.
Furthermore, different inspectors were often deployed to conduct follow-up inspections. Although all inspectors are fully qualified to perform the task effectively, each inspector naturally has a slightly different perspective on the individual safety deficiencies noted. Differing perspectives among inspectors or even differing levels of awareness or astuteness in the same inspector on different days are unavoidable; this affects the consistency of hazard identification and, consequently, the consistency and reliability of reports.
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