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10 essential pieces of any inspection report

Though different industries require different types of inspections, there are many similarities in how inspection and audit checklists should be prepared

A well-written inspection report can be invaluable to a business. They help you define what processes should be taking place and what normal conditions look like, so that you can react quickly when something goes wrong. Having checklists to follow makes it easier to create a safer workplace for your employees.

And when you use Lumiform checklists, the automatically-generated reports show you all the incidents and violations flagged. With your records all in one place, optimizing your business processes becomes easier.

There are a lot of different inspection report templates you could use in your business; you can even use Lumiform to create your own. To help you understand exactly how to get the most from any inspection or audit checklists, here is our guide to the essential pieces of any inspection report.

Table of contents

1. What are the features of good inspection reports?

1.1. Keep it simple

1.2. Be specific

1.3. Include recurring issues

1.4. Keep inspection reports short

1.5. Order your inspections logically

1.6. Include images

1.7. Digitize your reports with Lumiform

2. What are the essential sections of an inspection report?

2.1. General information

2.2. Hazard assessment

2.3. Equipment status

2.4. Sanitation

2.5. Workplace safety

2.6. Employee behavior

2.7. Incident report

2.8. Emergency preparedness

2.9. Waste management

2.10. Sign off

What are the features of good inspection reports?

Before diving into the sections you should include in an inspection report, it is important to understand best practices for preparing any type of inspection. The way you format and present audit checklists is as important as the content of those checklists.

Keep it simple

Your inspection reports will need to be filled out by different people at your company depending what they are in charge of inspecting. The results of these inspections are important for everyone to understand.

When you’re writing an inspection form, simplify it as much as possible. Phrase your questions clearly so that there’s no ambiguity about the answer.

Be specific

The most useful inspection reports are the ones which are specific. Figure out what exactly you are measuring or inspecting, and tailor your checklist to those requirements. Two construction checklists might look totally different, since construction job sites are different from contract to contract.

A “one-size-fits-all” approach to preparing inspections means some things will fall through the cracks. This is especially true if your inspection is part of a certification audit, like an ISO or an OSHA audit. These audit checklists need to reflect the exact requirements for certification in your industry.

Include recurring issues

When deciding what items to include on an inspection form, think first about recurring problems. It could be a common equipment malfunction or the way employees complete a certain task or something else. You need to clarify what correct operations look like in your checklist.

Keep inspection reports short

As important as it is that you be specific and provide detail when preparing inspections, that doesn’t mean preparing pages and pages of questions. Ideally, inspection reports don’t take more than a few minutes to read.

Structuring your checklist according to common issues helps you narrow down essential items to include. The exact number of items on a checklist will vary depending what you’re inspecting.

Order your inspections logically

One thing that helps you write understandable inspection reports is paying attention to the order of items you include. Order your inspection form the same way you will conduct the inspection.

This means that the steps you follow appear in the order that you will complete them. For example, when conducting a vehicle inspection, list the components to be inspected in the order they appear in the vehicle itself.

Include images

Including images or other visuals will make your inspection reports much more effective. They’re an excellent way of providing detail without writing too much. Being able to glance at an image helps whoever is reading the checklist process data faster.

Digitize your reports with Lumiform

If there’s one way to make an inspection more effective, it’s turning it into a digital inspection. Using Lumiform for digital inspections has saved numerous businesses lots of time on their day-to-day work.

Writing inspection reports using inspection software also eliminates the need to store your files. Lumiform saves every checklist you complete to the cloud, and you can access the results at any time. And once you download an inspection template, you or one of your employees can complete it from anywhere using the Lumiform mobile app.

Ready to prepare and complete inspections in minutes no matter where you are? Then join Lumiform today.

An inspection conducted via iPad by a man in a hard hat

 

What are the essential sections of Lumiform inspection reports?

With the general characteristics of quality inspection reports defined, here are ten sections that are enormously useful in any checklist. They are:

  1. General information
  2. Hazards
  3. Equipment status
  4. Sanitation
  5. Workplace safety
  6. Employee behavior
  7. Incident report
  8. Emergency preparedness
  9. Waste management
  10. Sign off

A single inspection form may not contain all ten depending on the type of inspection you’re conducting – you would hardly need to include workplace safety information on a forklift inspection or similar inspection of machinery. That said, these ten sections show up most commonly throughout all the inspections performed with Lumiform, and are applicable to a wide range of industries.

General information

This is one of the two sections that is mandatory to include no matter what you are inspecting. General information includes things like the date, time, and location that the inspection was performed, the name of the person inspecting, and their position within your business.

Including this general information is important because it helps to contextualize the inspection and create accurate timelines. This general information also provides accountability and establishes a point of contact for any questions relating to the inspection.

Hazards

Any inspection report that has to do with safety needs to list out all potential hazards as well as the criteria for avoiding them. A hazard is any specific factor which poses a risk to employee health and safety.

There are six categories of workplace hazard to watch for, and they are:

  • Safety hazards: These are common accidents like trips, falls, and mishandling equipment
  • Physical hazards: A physical hazard is the way the environment impacts the body, such as exposure to extreme temperatures or radiation
  • Biological hazards: Biological hazards are infectious diseases, substances, or bodily fluids
  • Chemical hazards: These are either chemicals themselves or chemically-based products which can be flammable or harmful to people
  • Ergonomic hazards: An ergonomic hazard refers to the way employees are situated while at work
  • Psychological hazards: A psychological hazard is mental-health related, like burnout or harassment
  • Equipment status

    Any industry that deals with heavy or specialized equipment needs to have that equipment inspected. Specialized equipment could be anything from a crane to firefighting equipment to an HVAC machine.

    Whatever it is, this is the section where you include everything that is supposed to be true about the machine – whether the steering mechanism is responsive, if the valves are rusty, if there is damage to the hinges, etc. – so that the inspection report can verify whether it is true.

    Sanitation

    Cleanliness is a big part of running a business and in some cases, employee safety. Sanitation is especially important in a kitchen or other hospitality setting, where unclean premises leave customers with a bad impression.

    Cleanliness is also relevant in manufacturing businesses, with philosophies such as the 5s system tying a clean and organized work environment to productivity.

    Workplace safety

    Similar to the hazards section, workplace safety is about keeping employees secure. The difference is that while hazard assessment focuses on identifying specific risks, evaluating workplace safety means viewing the workplace as a whole.

    In addition to tangible things like tripping hazards or loose wiring, inspecting workplace safety means auditing processes and culture. To determine how safe a workplace is, ask questions like:

  • Are all rooms in the building cleaned regularly?
  • Is emergency equipment regularly tested?
  • Are workers trained on and aware of evacuation procedures?
  • Is there a procedure for reporting incidents?
  • Are hallways and exits unobstructed?
  • Are employees frequently in ergonomically harmful positions?
  • Are workers provided personal protective equipment (PPE) where appropriate?

Employee behavior

Employee behavior can be interpreted to mean two things; that proper processes are followed when completing tasks, and that employees are not behaving unsafely. Both things are important to ensure.

Regulating proper procedure means defining the steps needed to complete tasks. Each step should then correspond to an inspection form item. That way, you can easily see where any breakdown in the process is happening.

Safe behavior is behavior that does not put an employee or employees around them at risk. This can include how employees are positioned while completing tasks, if they are using equipment improperly, and if they are not wearing required protective equipment.

Incident report

An incident report can just as easily be a separate inspection form as a section of a larger inspection. This is where you document any accidents or near misses that have occurred.

Essential information to include here is:

  • Who was hurt/almost hurt?
  • If anyone was injured, how severe and where on their body was the injury?
  • What task were they performing?
  • Where did the incident occur?
  • Did anyone witness the accident?
  • Was the employee following all safety protocols (wearing PPE, using equipment correctly, etc.)?

Emergency preparedness

Having a plan in place for dealing with emergencies at work is an important element of workplace safety. The two halves of emergency preparedness that should be documented via inspection reports are disaster protocol and the state of any needed equipment.

When evaluating your emergency response, ask:

    Are you able to communicate the emergency quickly?
  • Are employees aware of evacuation or other disaster procedures?
  • Have you clearly marked the routes in and out of the building?
  • Have you considered and planned for how an emergency impacts business functions?

Staying prepared for an emergency means maintaining the equipment needed to react effectively. Your specific equipment will vary depending what emergency you are planning for, but generally speaking, a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit are the most important items to have on hand.

A man in a black shirt inspecting the wheel of a white car

Waste management

Almost every industry produces waste in some form, whether it’s through manufacturing, food waste, medical waste, or generated somewhere along your supply chain. That means it’s vital to have a waste management plan.

In this section, you’ll focus on documenting when waste is created and where you dispose of it, as well as making sure waste reduction policies are observed. To make sure you are handling waste in as efficient and environmentally friendly a way as possible, ask:

  • Is waste properly sorted?
  • Where in your company is waste stored?
  • how often is waste collected?
  • How much of your waste is recycled/recyclable?
  • Where in your business does most of your waste come from?
  • Could you use different methods or materials that would lead to less waste?

Sign off

The sign off, along with the general information section at the start of an inspection, should be included whenever you complete inspection reports. It’s a simple formality, but it signals that the inspection is finished, approved, and ready to be filed.

Putting together a comprehensive and impactful inspection report is simple with Lumiform. There can be a lot of sections to include and information to convey, but with our checklist builder, you can add sections and inspection items with the click of a button. Within the easily readable format, all the details are fully customizable, so you can draft inspection forms uniquely relevant to your business.

A man in a chef's coat and hat conducting an inspection of the kitchen

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