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Mobile Apps for Occupational Safety and Health

F Marie Athey OHST

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F Marie Athey OHST | July 27, 2015 | Comments Off on Mobile Apps for Occupational Safety and Health

On the job site, worker safety is the first priority.

But rules and regulations aren’t always memorable or exciting. And getting the message to the workers who need it can be tough when the message is full of dry statistics and warnings.

In 2012, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) co-sponsored the Workplace Safety and Health Challenge. The goal was to encourage app developers to create outstanding mobile tools to promote workplace safety.

These apps can make workplace safety guidelines accessible, interesting, and sometimes even fun.

Since that contest, a number of apps have cropped up to meet that need. Let’s take a look at a few of the stand-outs.*

Ergonomics

Ergonomics is an iOS app that functions as your office wellness watchdog. It helps you manage your wellness, health, and, consequently, your productivity while at work. It helps with:

  • Tips for setting up your desk for maximum ergonomics
  • Simple stretching exercises to counteract the toll of sitting at a computer all day
  • Alarms for frequent breaks that prevent musculoskeletal stress and injury

If you’re an Android user, check out these ergonomics apps!

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards Native Application

Created by the National Institute of Safety and Health (NIOSH), this Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards lives up to its name by delivering valuable chemical data on the go.

Search by chemical name, trade name, synonym, DOT number or CAS number. The database will return:

  • Chemical and physical properties
  • Health hazards
  • Exposure limits
  • First aid
  • Recommendations for respirators and other Personal Protective Equipment
  • Regulatory information

Plus, you can favorite chemical records that you use repeatedly, see a list of your most recently accessed chemicals, and customize how the chemical data is displayed.

This app is available for both iOS and Android.

Chemical Safety Data Sheets

The Chemical Safety Data Sheets app for iOS gives you easy access to International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSC). They’re the concise, standardized, and simplified equivalent to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), which makes them perfect for field use by workers.

Locate the right chemical by name, CAS number of RTECS number, or filter a list of chemicals for Oilfield, Construction, EPA, and OSHA. Like the pocket guide, you can favorite the chemicals you’ll need in the future or see a list of recently viewed chemicals.

Unfortunately, this app is iOS only and no Android app for ICSC data exists yet.

NIOSH Sound Level Meter

Tested by NIOSH itself, NIOSH Sound Level Meter is a real “tool” in the old sense of the word. Use it to measure noise levels in your workplace. The readout is in decibels (dB), displayed against a reference for safe noise levels.

Note: Very high noise levels (above 100 dB) won’t register on the Sound Level Meter because of the inherent limitations of smartphone microphones. For that, you would need something like the Airwave app, which pairs with Casella’s shoulder-mounted dosimeters to monitor personal sound exposure.

If you’re an Android user, check out this Sound Meter app instead.

Cargo Decoder

Want to know what the tanker that just pulled in is carrying? Just tap the four-digit number on the tanker’s DOT placard into the Cargo Decoder app and see the relevant data from the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG).

This unique workplace safety tool is invaluable for emergency responders and hazardous materials (HazMat) workers who might need quick access to information when that tanker turns over.

To make things quick and easy, Cargo Decoder supplements keypad input with voice command and swipe functionality.

Plus, this app has you covered on iOS, Android, Amazon, and Blackberry.

Heat Safety Tool

For anyone who works outdoors, heat exhaustion and heatstroke are workplace safety hazards. Thankfully, there’s an app for that, and it’s developed in a partnership between the DOL, OSHA, NIOSH, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool is a nifty mobile app that helps prevent heat stroke by:

  • Calculating the heat index (“Feels Like” temperature) for your worksite
  • Determining your risk level for heat-related illnesses
  • Provides reminders for preventative measures like rest breaks, fluid intake, and more
  • Teaches heat illness symptoms and explains what to do in an emergency

It’s available on both iOS and Android. And—this is huge—in English and Spanish.

FR Clothing App

If your workplace contains electrical and combustible hazards, you have more complicated wardrobe needs than most. The FR Clothing app provides some valuable resources.

This app is developed by the Workrite Uniform Company, who has a vested interest in selling you FR products. However, it does contain useful information on flame-resistant (FR) products, services, and regulations like:

  • How to choose the right FR fabric for your workplace
  • FR fabric care instructions
  • Up-to-date summaries of FR standards and regulations
  • A glossary of FR terms
  • Video demonstrations on a variety of FR topics

Unfortunately, this app is iOS only and no Android equivalent exists yet.

Beyond Apps

Technology like this can save lives by putting valuable references at our fingertips. But there’s a reason OSHA and other agencies require worker training programs—references and resources are only useful when we know that we need them.

OSHACampus has been a trusted provider of OSHA Outreach courses, HAZWOPER training, GHS/HazCom, and more since 1997. Our online courses provide an effective, affordable, and convenient way to comply with safety regulations and ensure that your workforce has a foundation to recognize sources of danger and take the proper precautions. And like these apps, they make safety and health compliance mobile!

*This list is based on available product information, not independent testing. OSHACampus does not vouch for the validity of the product’s claims.

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