Written on: March 13, 2023 by Brent Cammett
If you’ve spent any length of time in the propane industry, you know that paperwork is a hassle to deal with. It’s a pain to fill out, carry around and then enter into the back-office system. Recalling specific paperwork when you need it for legal counsel or compliance checks down the line? Forget about it! In this day and age, there’s a much better way to monitor, document and recall your propane inspections and compliance—by using a technology-based system whose information is stored securely in the cloud.
In this article, we’ll dive into how using technology for propane safety compliance can benefit your company, reduce risk and help ensure accuracy and completeness when it comes to your propane safety documentation.
Benefits of Using a Cloud-Based System to Document Compliance
Let’s face it—paper forms are an archaic way of recording information and are long overdue for an update.
The downsides of continuing to utilize paper forms are that they are prone to:
• Slip between truck seats
• Get damaged by spills and inclement weather
• Host messy handwriting
• Contain missing or incomplete information 30% of the time, making your documentation null and void in the case of an incident
• Stay in folders and filing cabinets for days, weeks or months on end, which is too long if there is a serious issue or important follow-up that needs addressing
• Must be manually entered into a computer, requiring more billable hours
Instead of using paper forms to track your safety meeting discussions and attendance, using a cloud-based system will skyrocket your propane company into modern-day efficiency. Keep reading to learn propane marketers’ favorite benefits when it comes to using online systems to track information.
Top Benefits of Technology for Propane Documentation
Using a cloud-based system is the superior way to manage and document your safety inspections, leak checks, priority follow-ups, NFPA 58 compliance and more. When your propane company uses a digital documentation system, propane paperwork and forms are:
• Automatically entered into your system when the notes are written
• Available to all team mem- bers instantly, anywhere, at any time
• Clearly legible for anyone to read
• Not prone to being lost in the shuffle
• Immune to issues like slipping between truck seats or being ruined in the rain
• Able to automatically remind you of necessary follow-ups
• Helpful in guiding employees through the process by providing code and compliance information
• Present a more professional brand image when sharing forms with customers or information with legal counsel
How Digital Documentation Increases Accuracy & Reduces Risk
You may or may not be shocked to learn that the propane industry has a documentation error rate of 30%—that means nearly one-third of your documentation wouldn’t protect you in the case of a catastrophic incident or litigation. Not to mention, it’s inconvenient and costly to send your drivers and technicians back to the job site to correct errors.
The good news is that there’s a better solution: a propane safety documentation service offering error recognition technology. This is an advanced feature that detects errors in real time (including whether critical operating tests do not meet NFPA code requirements) and does not allow the form to be submitted until the problems are rectified. This gives the driver or tech instant feedback while they are still at the job location, allowing them to fix the error before it is submitted into your cloud database.
An Added Benefit: Photo Documentation
Look for propane safety documentation platforms that include photo documentation so that your company can benefit from these significant advantages:
• Allow every staff member to get a better understanding of the situation
• Verify your compliance claims with time-stamped photos
• Offer protection from homeowners making modifications that remove your tank sets from NFPA 58 compliance
• Provide detailed information for training and feedback purposes
• Communicate important visual details to your insurance underwriters
Put Your Best Foot Forward with Digital Propane Safety Documentation
Digital documentation is the best way to put the safety of your customers, team members and propane company at the forefront. If you’re still using paper forms to track and organize your inspections and compliance, look into electronic documentation software to increase the accuracy and completeness of your record keeping, reduce risk and enhance the efficiency of your propane company’s operation. ICM
Cammett is the Safety & Compliance Director at P3 Propane Safety. He has more than 30 years of experience, led multi-state safety programs, conducted safety training and audits and owned his own fuel company