You’ve got to have confidence in your logbook. What does it take to have a logbook that you, your operating team and your compliance team can believe in? More than you probably think.
To have confidence in your logbook, it has to be complete, correct, and incapable of being corrupted.
To be complete, the logbook must be easy to use. It must be used consistently, and it must ensure that entries contain all the data necessary to document a given entry.
To be correct, the logbook must be able to be revised to ensure that typos or simply incorrect entries can be revised to be made accurate.
To be incapable of being corrupted, the logbook must be protected. Those maintaining the data and IT infrastructure should be separate from those who use the logbook so that a user does not have the ability to disrupt storage or backup systems. The hardware systems should not be at the facility, so that it is not possible for a user to disrupt or damage the system. The system, itself, should preserve all data and changes to data that are allowed so that there is a complete record of exactly who entered what and when.
A logbook you can have confidence in will protect the truth. Yes, it can expose a cover-up or at least call into question why data is changed, late or suspect. But, for those who want evidence that they are running a responsible, competent, quality operation, it’s imperative to have a record that can withstand scrutiny.
This epic scene in A Few Good Men, in which a doctored logbook played a pivotal role in Santiago’s code red cover-up, brings the gravity of having records one can trust into clear view.