Paris Mintzaridis, our voice on technical quality for remote inspections, answers your questions on how the technology is used, and what outcomes you can expect.
Q: Is it really possible to get the same level of expertise and insight through a remote inspection as you would during an on-site one?
A: Yes, because our inspectors are all trained in both remote and on-site inspections and are regularly monitored by our accreditors. A remote inspection provides the same outcome as an on-site one but offers the additional advantage of being able to connect more than one expert at a time, using the same link, to provide extra resource, ideas and solutions.
Q: The internet connection on our site varies from great to really poor. Will this affect the use of technology during the remote inspection?
A: One of the great advantages of the LRQA Remote application is the ability to control bandwidth. This means that even when we’re really struggling for a signal and the picture becomes quite grainy, it’s not an issue - we still get quality pictures. The assessor/inspector will use their expertise to best leverage the tool to obtain what they need to see. We’ve performed remote inspection activities in very harsh conditions with good results. We can use 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi - whichever signal is there. If there’s a signal, and it’s able to transmit, then the remote inspection will deliver the results we need.
Q: Is it a good idea to do a test beforehand?
A: We would definitely recommend performing some speed tests using Google or similar. The tool itself does have a bandwidth test built in to it so we can use that to make sure that we can definitely perform the activities required.
Q: I want to keep my usual LRQA Inspector. Is that possible and are they trained to deliver remote inspections?
A: Yes, this is possible. All of our inspectors have been trained and are qualified to use the LRQA Remote app. To ensure the highest quality of service delivery, we shadow each inspector conducting his first remote inspection. The technical competencies of all of our inspectors and auditors are monitored annually as usual, independent of whether they deliver the inspection remotely or physically on-site.
Q: Does LRQA use drones to inspect unsafe areas?
A: Yes, we do, although drones tend to be used to access hard to reach areas, such as those on port cranes where it is not safe for an inspector to climb up to inspect the wells. We expect the use of drone and robot technology to increase in the coming months and years, going internally into pressure vessels in an in-service situation for example.
Q: Is it possible for a large global organisation to combine a remote inspection in one location with on-site inspection in other locations?
A: Remote inspections deliver auditor freedom which means the LRQA inspector could be located anywhere – in the headquarters of a global business or in their own home – and perform a remote inspection on a manufacturing site located elsewhere in the world. Several attendees can be invited to the remote inspection, so people could be situated in multiple locations and work together. For instance, we can link a business with an EPC contractor and the LRQA inspector and all three can witness the inspection, wherever it’s happening.
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