New changes to Heavy Vehicle National Laws (HNVL) for heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass will be adopted in late 2018. This means a greater onus on occupational health and safety checks and a commitment to safety across the chain of responsibility in the business.
One of the incoming recommendations is to develop a Safety Management System (SMS) including controls, safety policy and documentation. It is thus important to investigate available technologies to automate the safety and maintenance process. This can ensure that all regulatory requirements are adhered to and safety inspection reports are safely stored and readily accessible, within the SMS.
A Safety Management System is vital for companies operating heavy vehicles in Australia. The safety of heavy vehicles, employees and the broader community all depend on ongoing, rigorous pre start checks, safety inspections and regular maintenance. For organisations and operations with heavy vehicles, the need for high-end successful monitoring of conditions is a 24-hour, 365-day job. For example: Pre start inspection is a fundamental part of operating of heavy vehicles and should be carried out before each trip, journey or operation. It is not only the responsibility of both the driver and owner to conduct pre start checks, but also an important record of condition and maintenance. It is therefore important to have the best management tool and checklist available.
Today, the market leading tool is paperless inspection applications. As well as providing a dynamic tailored software package for easy integration into your business, digital inspection applications are a straightforward way of taking your business digital. Mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets are increasingly being used to automate pre-start safety checks, routine maintenance and other safety inspections for heavy vehicles. Maintenance and safety checks can be conducted using mobile devices; completely eliminating the need for paperwork and any additional data entry or filing processes. All mobile devices nowadays have an inbuilt camera and microphone, which means that drivers and operators can capture and edit photographs, as well as add audio recorded notes, to their inspections.
Once the safety inspection, maintenance activity or the pre start check is complete, the report is sent wirelessly to a central database. The database can be accessed via any web browser anywhere and reports can be generated, printed or attached to an email.
Paperless inspection applications specifically designed for heavy vehicles should deliver functionalities such as:
- List all information required by the operator to perform their tasks.
- Allow the inspector/operator to enter as much information as needed.
- Digital imaging of deficiencies/faults/findings by using the device’s camera and edit/annotate the photo on the device.
- Voice to text capabilities – allow the operator to record notes using speech to text (e.g. SIRI).
- Enable the operator to record recommendations – using drop down lists.
- Have instant access to history records, manuals and other reference material.
Electronic paperless inspection applications on mobile devices can also include validations that allow or disallow data entry. This is done alongside, providing the user with historical information pertaining to previous inspections, maintenance, pre start checks findings. Paperless/electronic inspection applications should be designed to minimise the amount of data entry and keystrokes required by the inspector/operator by incorporating techniques, ranging from pick lists, check boxes, look-up lists, use of camera or voice recorder, and automatically generated results.
All keystrokes on the mobile device application can have a date, time and GPS stamp for audit trail purposes.
Benefits of Electronic paperless inspection applications for heavy vehicle inspections:
- Paperwork is eliminated from the process
- The possibility of human error is minimised
- There is no “double entry” of data
- Standardisation of the activities
- Real time reporting of findings and corrective actions
- Each item has a comprehensive audit trail
- Scheduling and completion of corrective action is simplified
- Comprehensive inspection reports can be created in real time
- Improvement of operator efficiency
- Empower staff
- Simplify repeatable tasks and provide staff with easy solution
Where paperless inspection applications really show their worth in the inspection process is after the inspection is complete. Paperless apps mean every report is automatically filed on a private server or the cloud (SaaS), with trigger notifications to the fleet manager or the mechanic in real time. That also means the fleet manger and other stakeholders can be emailed the inspection report as soon as it’s complete and management can see an overview of your business in real time. Repair and maintenance can get trigger notifications as soon as something is failed on inspection, so they know immediately what needs to be fixed and management can get notifications telling them what they need to replace.
With a wide array of features and several ways to integrate to modern business, paperless inspection applications truly are the future for heavy vehicle inspection.