Find out how smartphone apps and other mobile technology can make your job easier.
Without question, digital technology has improved and enhanced the way safety professionals do their jobs, says Pam Walaski, a certified safety professional herself and regional manager for EHS services at Compliance Management International, a full-service safety consulting business.
“It ranges from the use of tablets and apps in the field for auditing and inspecting to end learning, an interactive experience quite different from yesterday’s computer-based learning,” she says.
Apps for Measurement and Reference
The number of safety- and health-related apps is skyrocketing. A recent article in Professional Safety (published by the American Society of Safety Engineers) addresses the proliferation of digital resources. The authors discuss popular apps, including iTriage for medical reference, Documents-to-Go for document storage, and resources for regulatory information, including the Dakota EHS Pocket Guide.
Other apps make it easy for users to perform calculations for arc flash protection, calculate a load’s center of gravity, or find quick access to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) fire-protection standards.
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A growing number of tool-type apps facilitate measurement. An example is the NIOSH ladder safety app, which uses visual and audio signals to check the angle at which the ladder is positioned. It also includes useful tips for using extension ladders safely.
“You download it and put your phone against the side rail of a ladder, and it tells you if you are at the right level,” says Walaski. The app is available for free for both iPhone and Android devices (find it at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/falls). Other apps let you quickly calculate dosimeter readings, assess decibel levels, or conduct lifting calculations. The days of carrying books or manuals into the field are over, Walaski adds.
Tools for audits, training, and presentations
An app growing in popularity in safety circles is iAuditor, which allows users to design and develop custom tools for conducting safety audits or inspections. Users front-load the app with specific site and risk information.
Walaski explains, “You follow along and, at the end, you have a report, versus using a clipboard, camera, and pencil, then spending hours afterward assembling the report. This way, when you walk out of the field, the report is just about ready to go.”
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While not specifically safety-related, EverNote is a handy app that stores documents, files, videos, notes, and other materials in one digital “place.” Says Walaski, “If I’m preparing a workshop presentation, I’ll put everything in EverNote like my handout, my PowerPoint®, links to statistical information, photos, etc. I open the EverNote file and everything I need is right there.”
EverNote and similar apps are also useful for other bulky projects like employee training, safety committees, policy updates, or job hazard analysis creation.
3 thoughts on “Mobile Apps for Safety Professionals”
I purchased the iAuditor program and use it on my I Pad each time I do an inspection or Worker Observation. It allows the worker to review and I can then export it.
I don’t use the scoring system at this time.
We’ve been using iAuditor for about 6 weeks and really like it.
The App is easy to use, easy to set up too. It is still in beta mode, so it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, along with robust reporting that I’d like. That said, they are a responsive group of developers, and I expect there gonna get there.
Check them out.
Nice early mover article on EHS Mobile Apps. You should definitely continue pursuing this topic as there has been a big development in the past two years. More focused apps are out on the field like you described here also. Auditing and inspections apps have currently also task management features with collaboration.