Bar code functionality enhances EH&S data management
Last year a manufacturing company chose T3, a division of Trinity Consultants that implements EH&S information management solutions, to implement an EH&S management information system (EMIS) at three of its facilities. The manufacturer selected opsInfo by IHS to manage its Title V compliance and emissions reporting. An existing system was already in place to manage equipment maintenance records using handheld barcode scanners to inspect sources and answer “checklist-type” questions. The manufacturer wanted to retire the existing system and replace it with an integrated tool that would communicate results of equipment records into its EMIS. It also wanted to use the EMIS as a repository and reporting interface for the massive amounts of equipment data collected during each inspection.
T3’s QuickList application, part of the Pocket Solutions® family of handheld data collection products, was customized to meet the client’s needs. QuickList is a versatile handheld solution that can be used by facilities for virtually any field data collection or inspection requirements. It allows personnel to easily create and modify individual checklists via desktop software and deploy these checklists on handheld devices in the field.
In this case, QuickList was used as an equipment and scheduling tool where the facility conducts a series of manual equipment checks on a regular basis. The application guides the user along a walking route from one location to the next. After scanning the equipment’s bar code, the user answers a series of questions for that specific piece of equipment. For the three facilities, data is collected along 75 routes with an average of 70 equipment stops, each requiring between two and to six questions to be answered.
Additionally, the solution contains “compliance check” processes to assist the facilities. First, the system notifies supervisors via email if critical routes have not been performed by designated deadlines to pro-actively improve overall performance. Second, the solution generates follow-up records and notifications based on the responses provided by the inspectors, such as the initiation of a maintenance ticket at a source or the follow-up required when a permit deviation is observed.
In addition to incorporating bar code technology into QuickList, T3 also developed a new logic check feature. The application asks if the equipment is active and either proceeds through the pre-set list of questions or skips forward guiding the user to the next stop of the walking route. This improvement allows users to complete the inspection faster and avoid collecting extraneous data.
Customizing QuickList provided the manufacturer many benefits. First, utilizing bar codes verifies that the user is collecting data on the correct equipment and that the user is physically there. This level of accuracy is important because some inspection routes are integral to demonstrating compliance. Second, following a checklist minimizes the risk of human error and accelerates the process and effect associated with collecting data. Finally, electronic collection of data eliminates the storage of hand-written data logbooks and manpower required to enter data collected on paper.
Integration with the client’s EMIS was essential in order to manage the high volume of data collected for each of the routes. Scan records and responses collected are estimated to be 1 to 1.5 million questions per year. A large repository is very valuable for syncing data with opsInfo and using the EMIS to store and print the data in various formats.
QuickList can be uploaded to various handheld device brands. A Motorola bar code scanner was used at these facilities, which is similar to scanners found in retail stores. T3 has over 10 years experience implementing EMIS solutions in myriad industries. Pocket Solutions include field applications for visible emissions monitoring, health and safety checklists, SWPPP and SPCC checklists, pressure drop monitoring, meter reading, and user-specific checklists to fit any need. For more information about T3’s capabilities, visit tthree.com or contact Tom Grosch firstname.lastname@example.org.