How to Improve Job Site Inspections and Reporting With Photo-Based Safety Apps

This article is the third in a series of discussions with Safety Reports co-founder Steve Polich in which he talks about his career and technology’s impact on workplace safety. Steve describes the efficiency gains created by photo-based safety apps.

Check out all articles in this series:

Mobile safety applications make performing comprehensive, professional inspections and reports easier than ever, according to Safety Reports founder Steve Polich. While the use of a mobile application like Safety Reports does not change the basic tasks performed during a walkthrough, it is conducive to better documentation, improved note-taking, and a more thorough final report.

Save Time on Site Visits and Safety Reporting

Here’s an outline of a typical one-hour inspection using a mobile safety app.

  • Scan the worksite (5 minutes) – Looking for visual clues as to possible hazards – including cranes, masonry work, fall hazards, etc. – as you approach, the job site remains a best practice.
  • Meet with the superintendent (10 minutes) – As with scanning the worksite, meeting with the superintendent before walking the site to ask what issues should be a focus of the walkthrough remains standard practice.
  • Review site paperwork (10 minutes) – Prior inspection results and other information are easier to track and manage using an inspection application rather than relying upon paper records. For example, Safety Reports allows users to run a corrective action tracking report for the job site from a cell phone or tablet to identify open, closed, or pending items from the last visit. Such reports allow users to easily revisit items flagged for corrective action to see where noncompliance was noted and determine if they have been resolved.
  • Walk the site (30 minutes) – Photo-based inspection apps like Safety Reports streamline the walkthrough. An average site visit can consist of 40 to 50 observations and several negative observations, all needing detail and a picture. By assigning a category and inspection item afterward, Safety Reports lets site visits be completed more efficiently because the photos serve as notes for report generation. Safety Reports also allow users to add a typed or dictated narrative to photos when they are taken, which improves recall and helps expedite the walkthrough.
  • Wrap-up visit (5 minutes) – Inspectors review their notes and photos taken on-site using Safety Reports with the superintendent. This helps ensure everyone is on the same page and there are no surprises when the report is submitted.
  • Report creation (15 minutes) – Inspection apps like Safety Reports have revolutionized the report creation process. After leaving the job site, consultants can sit in their vehicle or the job trailer, tap the photos in the Safety Reports app, assign them to an inspection item, and add applicable narratives via voice dictation. For example, if they took a picture of a ladder not extending three feet past the landing zone, they tap the photo, find the ladder category, and select the appropriate yes/no question from a related inspection list. Associated standards, recommendations, and safety scores are automatically added to the report. Completed reports can be sent via a phone or tablet, in Word or PDF format, from the field before leaving the client’s location.


Traditionally, time spent on site versus time creating reports has been one-to-one, meaning that each hour spent on site takes approximately an hour to generate a report. This paradigm shifts with the use of mobile safety inspection applications. With Safety Reports, an average site visit and report only takes 1.25 hours – down from two hours – because of the ability to generate reports much more quickly.


With an average of 10 inspections per week, the total time savings with Safety Reports versus creating manual reports could amount to 7.5 hours – almost a full workday!

In addition to time savings, the use of a mobile inspection application like Safety Reports offers other advantages for safety consultants:

Deliver In-Depth and Accessible Safety Reports

Reports are more detailed, comprehensive, and professional. A comprehensive report that accurately documents the inspection results is essential for client satisfaction and minimizing the consultant’s legal liability. The Safety Reports report templates include the following elements.

  • Auto-generated observations – both pro and con – based on input from the user. For example, if an inspector checks “yes” to a question about ground fault protection being used, the report would include a comment stating, “GFCI is being used for temporary power connections (1926.404)”.
  • Auto-generated recommendations are included if the inspector checks “no” that a checklist item such as GFCI protection is not being used on site.
  • Auto-generated references to current applicable OSHA standards.
  • Inclusion of an overall site safety score based on the number of positive observations and the number and severity of negative observations.
  • Auto-generated corporate and site contacts to receive the emailed report.
  • Multiple report templates allow users to customize report content based on their client’s needs.
Clients may easily store, access and manage collected data using Safety Reports.


  • Inspection data collected can be used for analytics and/or forecasting.
  • Electronic corrective action tracking to help ensure identified deficiencies are resolved.
  • Reports are auto-saved to a Safety Reports account.
  • The comprehensive nature of the report and the fact that previous reports, photos, and data are saved in structured databases allows clients to use this information to demonstrate ongoing compliance in case of an OSHA inspection.


The efficiencies gained for consultants when documenting inspections using a digital application like Safety Reports are extensive.


Not only can they provide customers with more accurate, comprehensive, and professional reports, but they can do it in a fraction of the time compared to the traditional inspection process.

Are you ready to quit the manual safety inspection process and adopt a solution that makes it easier to do your job?

Check out our safety inspections app.

This article is the third in a series of discussions with Safety Reports founder Steve Polich in which he talks about his career and the impact technology has on workplace safety. In part 4 of this series, Steve discusses key takeaways for safety consultants