On the job site, the safety of workers 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.
The Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently co-sponsored the “Workplace Safety and Health Challenge,” in which application developers competed to create outstanding software tools that teach workers to recognize and prevent work site hazards. One thing these apps have in common is that they all make the safety message accessible, interesting, and sometimes even fun. Three of the winners were the USW Chemical Safety app, Working Safely is No Accident and Ergonomics iOS.
The USW Chemical Safety app. If you have an iPhone and you work with chemicals, this is one app that you ought to check out. USW Chemical Safety is an easy-to-use tool to keep you safe from exposure to toxic chemicals. It accesses the New Jersey Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) database for information about health hazards, personal protective equipment, and workplace exposure limits. It also lets you browse the electronic version of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. USW Chemical Safety can even deliver contact information for OSHA and United Steelworkers district offices.
Working Safely is No Accident. To raise awareness among young people about their right to a safe work environment, the University of Tennessee Construction Industry Research ad Policy Center and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering teamed up to create this app. It includes a lighthearted interactive game that estimates the likelihood of specific workplace accidents compared to other events, such as dating a supermodel. It comes with tips on how to avoid these accidents (but, unfortunately, no tips on how to date the supermodel).
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. Use it for setting up office equipment such as your table, chair, and the desktop computer and its peripherals. You’ll also get valuable suggestions for simple stretching exercises and reminders to take frequent breaks to prevent musculoskeletal stress and injury.
Here are some other workplace safety apps that you might use to stay OSHA complaint on the job.
Sound Level Meter. This Android app is a real “tool” in the old sense of the word. Once downloaded to your smartphone, use it to measure noise levels in your workplace. The readout is in decibels (dB) and is displayed against a reference for safe noise levels. It’s handy for safeguarding against unhealthy noise levels in the office or in the factory. Note: Very high noise levels (above 100 dB) won’t register on the Sound Level Meter because of the inherent limitation of smartphone microphones.
Cargo Decoder. Want to know what the tanker that just pulled in is carrying? Just tap in the four-digit number on the tanker’s DOT placard into your Cargo Decoder app and relevant data from the Emergency Response Guidebook will be displayed. This unique workplace safety tool is especially useful for emergency responders and hazardous materials workers who might need quick access to information. To make things quick and easy, Cargo Decoder supplements keypad input with voice command and swipe functionality.