Digital Data Collection Platforms: Forms/Survey Designs

Field Data Collection

There are several types of forms field workers in the utility industry, and many others as well such as the oil and gas industry, must fill out during their day. Some of these forms include Job Safety Analysis (JSA), vehicle inspections, incident and damage reports, stop-works, and the forms or surveys relevant to the job being performed. 

This blog will review these various types of forms and surveys that should be integrated into utility companies’ task management and digital data collection platforms. Although not all the forms and surveys mentioned here will apply to your company’s operations, understanding these elements will help those involved in choosing or designing a platform make well-informed decisions. 

Forms Used in the Field: Industrial Compliance and Safety

Job Safety Analysis (JSA)

JSAs are required before beginning any job. A JSA serves the purpose of making field-crews evaluate different dangers they may experience throughout the day and list the ways they will be mitigated by the crew. It also requires crew members to identify the nearest hospital and their primary emergency contacts.

Incident Reports and Damage Information Reporting Tools (DIRT)

Incident reports are required when any type of injury or near-miss incident occurs and is a part of regulatory compliance in the industry. It should be filled out and submitted as soon as possible so the incident can be immediately documented, addressed, and remedied.

For example, during excavation for utility work, there is a risk of damaging a utility line. This is an event that requires an immediate response, and all relevant people such as the supervisor, health and safety manager, and appropriate authorities must be notified. 

Vehicle Inspection Reports

Many companies require field crews to submit vehicle inspection reports, and some require one at the beginning and end of the day. This allows the fleet manager to keep up with the condition of the vehicle and track any damages that may occur. In some cases, if damage is not reported, the fleet manager can review these reports and identify the date it occurred if the reports require that pictures be taken. 

Most often, these reports will ask things such as the mileage of the vehicle before and after a trip, the location traveled to, and require that pictures of the vehicle be taken. 


A stop-work is a form used to document the use of a field worker’s “stop work authority”, which allows a project to be halted until a safety threat can be mitigated. These often follow the use of an incident report, but can also be submitted for weather concerns such as lightning delays, vehicle safety problems, and more. 

Forms Used in the Field: Field-work Surveys and Reports

Of course, there are the surveys used to collect data in the field in the utility industry, and these are not a one-size-fits-all. These forms should be very job-specific and thorough enough to provide the data relevant to the job.

In most cases, a field work survey or report should include the date, time, and location (GPS coordinates) of the data being collected, and these should be required fields in the reports so that supervisors and other stakeholders can confirm when and where the data were collected. Pictures, and the ability to add additional photos and comments, must also be included.

Certification Documents and Permits

There are certain operations that require workers to hold specific certifications, such as a CDL when operating heavy equipment. In some locations or when performing certain operations such as excavation or sewer line repairs, permits may be required, field crews and equipment operators must be able to provide proof of certification and permitting upon request from authorities. 

Power of Digital

After reviewing many of the forms and surveys involved with field work, it is quite apparent that masses of records and information are generated by field crews every day. So, utilizing digital platforms for both collecting, managing, and storing data and forms is incredibly beneficial.

Transitioning your operations from paper into the digital space will streamline your operations and drive efficiency. To learn more about how our software can help you and your field teams make the jump to digital, contact OpSource.

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