Conducting safety inspection processes through some mobile devices is unachievable for certain industries as worksites forbid the use of smartphones and tablets that are not certificated as being intrinsically safe as they are deemed dangerous to operate in hazardous areas (Zone 1 or Zone 2). It is currently mandatory for safety inspectors to carry intrinsically safe devices for hazardous areas when performing safety inspections in hazardous environments.
Intrinsic safety is a requirement that may be applicable to devices that are being operated in areas with flammable gases or fuels. It means a preventative protection method employed in potentially explosive atmospheres. Certificate intrinsically safe tools/devices prevent the release of sufficient energy to cause ignition of flammable material.
Industries which require Intrinsically Safe Products
- Oil platforms and refineries
- An environment where explosive gases, mists, vapours combustible dusts could be present.
There are differing regulations and requirements which dictate how mobile devices are certified and manufactured in order to be used as intrinsically safe certified device. There are mainly two regulatory bodies and certifications: – ATEX (‘Atmospheres Explosive) – mainly in recognised in Europe and IECEx, (International Electro technical Commission) mainly recognised internationally.
Few companies design and manufacture intrinsically safe mobile devices. One of the latest certified intrinsically safe tablet is the Zone 1/21 & DIV 1 tablet computer based on Samsung GALAXY Tab Active.
Types- Initial and periodic Hazardous Area Inspections
Grades- Visual, Closed and Detailed Hazardous area inspections
Benefits of using Intrinsically Safe mobile devices to record safety inspections
Below are few features that are capable of being implemented by using the right paperless Inspection solution with intrinsically safe mobile devices running Android operating systems.
Speech Recognition – Speech recognition has dramatically improved since its introduction and now a standard feature in all new mobile devices and tablets. It provides the safety inspector / technicians a fast and effective way to record and store information.
Camera and Annotating – Camera technology has likewise continued to evolve with each new mobile release outperforming the last. Documentation maintenance through photograph captures the technician’s visual point of view and provides others a specific record of the asset and the findings. On screen annotation allows safety inspectors/technicians to highlight key areas in photographs that are of interest or require corrective actions as well as describe the event or the deficiencies.
Reference Material – Reference material such as safety instructions, SOP, drawings, user manuals, relevant codes and standards can be stored on the mobile device and viewed offline in a matter of seconds, no need to carry piles of paper anymore or be connected to the internet!
Offline Reporting – Certain sites are limited to internet/Wi-Fi and/or service data which restricts certain paperless inspection system which rely on constant internet connectivity. Some paperless safety inspection application allows the user to work offline with data being uploaded subsequent.
Automatic data/time/GPS stamp – Safety inspectors/Technicians can improve their reporting details by implementing automatic date and time stamps as well as the GPS coordinates where it was recorded.