Common Pen-and-Paper Frustrations in Construction QHSE Workflows

Written by LetsBuild

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QHSE (quality, health, safety and environment) inspectors and managers have a crucial role in your construction company. They are responsible for ensuring that your construction projects are adhering to the prescribed quality, health, safety, and environment standards. In order to do so, they maintain a checklist to safeguard the consistency of your company’s services and products.
However, with technology permeating our daily lives, the demand and expectation for the speedy transfer of information has increased over the past few years. In an industry where compliance is necessary, this real-time communication of critical data should be used to further promote safety and quality. However, with the slow adoption in construction, we still deal with the frustrations and pitfalls that come from manual pen-and-paper inspections and reporting.

Common Pain Points in Traditional Construction QHSE

We have compiled the most common of the many problems in manual QHSE workflows. All these issues can be solved by a quality construction management software. Believe us, you don’t have to get through the whole list before you get convinced to switch to using a proper app.

Disorganised Inspections

When date inspections are coordinated by pen-and-paper and email, the process gets long and confusing. WIth attachments and long conversation threads, scheduling an inspection date can get mixed up and waste a lot of time. If the dates are confused, the appropriate inspection personnel could get switched and may end up inspecting something they are not knowledgeable in.
However, having a quality construction QHSE management software easily simplifies this process and instead, enables you simple coordination and confirmation with the dates and personnel.

Wrong Information Supplied to Inspectors and Stakeholders

With pen-and-paper and email, revised information can be relayed late to your inspectors and other important stakeholders. This could ruin their inspection process and results.
Using a QHSE software for construction, however, would ensure that the right information is received by the right people at the time they need it.

There is No Control on Inspection

There is no way of monitoring if QHSE inspections are done properly when using pen-and-paper and other manual methods. You have no way of knowing if your QHSE inspectors and manager are performing their tasks honestly or if they’re taking shortcuts.
But, with the right software, you can access in real-time what information is getting recorded, you can follow the procedures, and have complete confidence that your inspectors are doing their job because you can track them in real time.

Late Reports

When reports are done manually, time is spent on the inspection itself and then on the transcription of data into a report after the inspection. Usually, the transcription after hours would take over an hour and this would be wasted time that your team could have been used for more important things.
Using a construction QHSE software would allow for report generation right after the inspection procedures and would be ready to be sent as soon as completed.

Failed Follow-Ups

Having no communication standards and no consistent way of filing reports, follow-up on issues that may arise from inspections could prove to be very difficult —issues are easily forgotten without any kind of tracking. Any kind of follow-up with other stakeholders could end up useless and time-consuming.
Having the correct software that indicates action statuses on remaining tasks or issues until they are resolved, would allow you clear follow-ups free of mix-ups.

Some Serious Pitfalls

Outdated manual inspection auditing and reporting using pen-and-paper, emails, Excel, and other old school methods result to serious issues. As there are a number of standards and regulations to comply with in construction, serious implications like injuries and deaths could take place if they are missed. In 2013, there were 4,405 fatalities on the job according to OSHA which would equal to more than 12 deaths per day.

Violations Take Forever to Realise

If a non-conformity in an inspection goes unnoticed, it may have potential to cause harm. If your QHSE inspector is using pen-and-paper and spreadsheets to conduct an audit, it could take days, weeks, or longer to uncover such result.

Delayed Countermeasures

May it be minor or major non-conformities, they always have the potential to cause harm to your project, to your workers or the general public. A manual QHSE system would delay the time for you to proactively find a solution to your situation.

Negative Effect on People

Your clients, shareholders, workers, and even the public might be exposed to potentially dangerous conditions for each day your inspection or audit gets delayed.

Real-Time Reporting

By using a construction management software that updates and reports QHSE audits and results right after each inspection, construction companies can ensure their processes and services consistently meet industry standards. You don’t have to suffer through the frustrations and serious events that could result from outdated pen-and-paper methods. In the event of a non-conformity, a proactive solution can be implemented immediately  before it could negatively affect the workers, client, or the public.
If you are interested to learn more, we actually wrote a book that outlines how you can throw away your pen-and-paper and digitise your processes. It’s discussed in detail in our book, 6 Keys to Staying Competitive that you can download for free today.