Safety Inspections

Sysgen Case Study: Safety Inspections

Improving the Safety Inspection Process
The Building Commission (of Indiana) has continued to pursue process improvement for another area of responsibility: safety inspections. The Commission is responsible for inspecting elevators and amusement park rides, in addition to ambulances, pressure vessels (such as hot water tanks) and construction site mobile trailers. Eighteen inspectors examine approximately 15,000 elevators, 1,200 amusement park rides and 60,000 pressure vessels around the state annually.

The process was paper-intensive, redundant and inefficient. Multiple carbon copies of reports had to be filed by building or ride owners, county officials and the Building Commission. Hand-written reports by inspectors were rekeyed by clerical staff for electronic records management. Report documentation did not travel with rides.

Deputy Chief Building Commissioner Bill Franklin had a brainstorm during a presentation on using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology for tracking emergency equipment. He realized that the same information storage concept could be used for amusement rides. Working with private industry firms from New York (Sysgen Data Ltd.) and Indiana (Northern Apex), the Building Commission team developed an approach that is unique in the U.S. Starting in May 2002, inspectors equipped with a portable hand-held computer complete forms electronically and rewrite the data to the RFID tag affixed to the ride. They also use an infrared connection to print the inspection form to a belt-worn mobile printer for the ride owner. New units for inspectors use Bluetooth technology so printing can be done remotely.

Through a cell phone modem connection, data on the hand-held is uploaded to the Commission's mainframe computer and new pertinent data downloaded to the hand-held. Data integrity is maintained and rekeying tasks are eliminated. As a side benefit, inspectors can access e-mail messages from the field over the hand-held devices.

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