smart phoneWhat kind of business confab in any field is on top it without a session or two or 12 on new communications technology devices as business tools?

Certainly ASSE is “with it.” On Wednesday afternoon Safety 2013 features an education session; “Streamlining Safety Operations Through Widespread Use of Mobility.”

Not surprisingly, the session was co-sponsored by the Young Professionals in SH&E Common Interest Group, as well as the Construction and Management Practice Specialties.

The apps are out there

An increasing number of companies are streamlining administration of safety and health traditional functions through the use of mobility tablets that contain an ever-expanding array of applications allowing for one-time, real time recording inspection information, behavioral safety observations and incident investigations, chemical exposure monitoring, auditing, among other functions.

The session drew on experiences in Canadian and U.S. construction projects, as presented by Richard S. Baldwin, CSP, PCL Construction Enterprises, Denver, CO; and Jim Barry, PCL Constructors, Inc., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The “apps” are certainly out there. Here is an already outdated list (with new apps arriving almost daily):

SafetyNet - “The SafetyNet app from Predictive Solutions allows customers to predict, and ultimately prevent, workplace injuries. First, the app allows customers to conduct inspections and collect workplace safety observations from their job sites. Next, the app synchs these observations with the SafetyNet web application where advanced and predictive analytics are performed on the data. The SafetyNet predictive analytics helps customers identify where they are most likely to have a safety incident or injury, and then report and communicate that information to their work teams and management.”

Chemical Safety Data Sheets – “This application displays International Chemical Safety Cards [ICSC] produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labour Office (ILO), and the World Health Organization (WHO). “

Kindle – Would you like to have a complete copy of the OSHA standards on your iPad? First, download the free Kindle app.  Then purchase the Kindle edition of the OSHA safety and health standards  from for $9.99.    

MSDS Mobile-  ”KHA, Online-MSDS™ presents the first MSDS mobile app. Get instant access to the an industry-leading database of MSDS and SDS.  Search and view an unlimited number of (M)SDSs. Respond quickly and competently in emergency situations. Gain instant insight into the chemicals and products you are working with—all from the palm of your hand. Add an unlimited number of frequently referenced (M)SDSs to your personal “My Favorites” binder. Forward complete (M)SDSs by fax, e-mail or SMS (text message); or share the (M)SDS that you use by Tweet or Facebook post.”

NIOSH Pocket Guide To Chemical Hazards – “Designed specifically to take advantage of the iPhone’s interface, the NIOSH Pocket Guide (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) gives safety professionals immediate access to crucial information on all of 677 chemicals in the database including all the resources of the NIOSH Pocket Guide and more. The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) is intended as a source of general industrial hygiene information on several hundred chemicals (with their classes) for workers, employers, and occupational health professionals.  It is a must-have for every safety professional, industrial hygienist, chemist, or college student seeking a safety degree, and a valuable reference guide for anyone that works with hazardous chemicals in the workplace or at home.”

Chemical Compatibility Database - “Every day thousands of scientists, engineers and technicians need to determine chemical compatibility for storage, transport and use. Finding the right material compatibility is key to safety. This app leverages years of research on chemical compatibility and contains more than 24,528 entries covering 584 chemicals and 42 materials. One of the most comprehensive chemical compatibility databases in the world is now available for your iPhone and iPad.”

ChemAlert – “ChemAlert for iPhone and iPad now brings the name of ChemAlert to the world of mobiles. Key chemical safety management information including Hazards and GHS Classifications, Risk and Safety Phrases, First Aid information and recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is now be available.”

Dakota EHS - For the on-the-go EHS professional, Dakota EHS provides a searchable, plain-language digest of federal Environmental Health and Safety regulations. Quickly find the requirements that apply to your situation, review the digest, and link to full-text regulations as needed.  Covers all the major areas of EHS compliance, including EPA, OSHA, and DOT.

iErgonomics– “This app contains information about Ergonomics.”

OSHA Heat Safety Tool – Get the heat index for your work site and precautions to prevent heat illness.  When you’re working in the heat, safety comes first. With the OSHA Heat Safety Tool, you have vital safety information available whenever and wherever you need it — right on your mobile phone.  The App allows workers and supervisors to calculate the heat index for their worksite, and, based on the heat index, displays a risk level to outdoor workers. Then, with a simple tap, you can get reminders about the protective measures that should be taken at that risk level to protect workers from heat-related illness—reminders about drinking enough fluids, scheduling rest breaks, planning for and knowing what to do in an emergency, adjusting work operations, gradually building up the workload for new workers, training on heat illness signs and symptoms, and monitoring each other for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.  Stay informed and safe in the heat, check your risk level.

FallProof– “The new “Fall Distance Calculator” app from FallProof Networks helps safety professionals in the field, protect workers from falls.  This easy to use app helps to accurately calculate the required fall clearance based upon the equipment being used and the height of the anchorage point.”¹

SafetySnaps – “Safety Snaps is a quick and simple way to collect and share information on safety, health and environment issues.  With Safety Snaps you can take a photo, add a description, select a priority and record your current location. You can share your Safety Snap by sending a Safety Snap email. This is a simple way to notify those responsible for fixing the problem or for you to keep a record of the problems.”

Sound Meter – “SoundMeter turns your iOS device into a handheld sound level meter (SLM). The built-in and headset microphones are suitable for certain, basic sound level measurements, but high precision external microphones may also be used with appropriate interface hardware.”

Megaman Lux Meter – “The MEGAMAN® LuxMeter key feature emulates a lux meter to measure the light levels of an environment. In addition to the recommended illuminance of a given environment, useful lighting tips are supplied to help you to make the ideal choice.”

iJSA – “JSA template for conducting work place risk assessments.”

USW Safety – “The USW Safety app is designed as an easy and accessible chemical safety reference for workers.  This includes information on workplace exposure limits, health hazards, workplace controls, personal protective equipment, handling and storage, and emergency information.  Flip through an electronic version of the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards or search for a chemical by name in the index to view its properties, exposure limits, recommended personal protective equipment and first aid.”

NIOSH Lifting Calculator - ”Humantech developed LiftCalc to quickly and easily perform the NIOSH Lifting Equation whenever and wherever you need it. It is available for use in both metric and standard measurement. You can use this application at the job site to evaluate both existing and proposed lifting conditions to determine the Recommended Weight Limit (RWL) of a specific job or task. It can also help you prioritize hazardous jobs that require ergonomic intervention.”

Crane Operator Hand Signals - “The Crane Operator Hand Signals mobile app gives users instant access to all necessary crane hand signals. Every signal included is OSHA Cranes and Derricks Standard compliant. Each signal is shown graphically so that operators can quickly and easily reference the appropriate signal for each command.”

EM385-1-1 – “A safety and health requirements manual.”

Wiser – “WISER (Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders) is a mobile application designed to assist first responders in hazardous material incidents.”

Weather Alert USA – “This premier weather app literally plugs your device directly into the official NOAA alert network. Choose from an abundant variety of alert types (well over 100). Alert coverage is virtually unlimited and supports any combination of state, zone, and county level alert boundaries. Leverages instant push technology to deliver Weather Alerts directly to your device.”

Pocket First Aid – “Updated to reflect The American Heart Association Guidelines on CPR & Emergency Cardiovascular Care.  Reorganized content to make it easier to find help in an emergency.  All content provided by the American Heart Association, the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization.”

OSHA Audit for iPad ($100) - ”OSHA Audit performs completely electronic safety audits. Take your iPad to a worksite, and easily create a new guided audit. You add notes and email a copy of the full audit report when you’re done.”

Adobe Ideas – This app let’s you take a digital photo during an inspection and annotate it with a title and/or message.

EHSQ Audit and Verification -“Improve audit efficiency today. This easy-to-use app works on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPads. You can use over 500 free checklists or load your own personal checklists onto the app.  For each item on your checklist, you can write notes, indicate the status, take a photo, capture video and record audio. You can generate reports with your data in Microsoft Word and Excel format.  Internal and external auditors around the world rely on this easy to use app to improve their efficiency during inspections, audits and verifications.”

Safety Symbol Library - “Comprehensive Information related to the subject of safety instructions and warning messages in technical Documentation.  Contains free preview pages of a concise guide to writing compliant and useful safety alerts.  Demonstrates hundreds of downloadable ready-to-use symbols and templates”

iAuditor – Completely free, fully customisable workplace audits for every industry and application.  Perform workplace safety audits, pre-start checks and inspections faster and easier.

Safety Buddy – “Safety Buddy is a task tracking application. Safety Buddy keeps you straight when it comes to all the tasks and actions that you need to capture and keep track of. All data is kept within a database on the device. “

MMH Calculator Free  - “With this free version of the MMH Calculator (Manual Material Handling) the recommended weight limit for lifting tasks can be calculated. The calculation is based on the revised NIOSH lifting equation. This method is internationally established, and is e.g. used by Dutch Labour Inspectorate. The app is applicable for working situations with lifting tasks. After input of several characteristics of the lifting tasks, the recommended weight limit is calculated, and the associated risk is indicated. Moreover, it becomes clear how the lifting task may be improved.”

Who’s buying?

A key question and a determinant of how quickly professionals will be able to avail themselves of these tools is: Who buys the tablet? Many companies currently have a “BOYD” policy – Bring Your Own Device (to work).

At the moment, the overwhelming majority of safety and health professionals surveyed by ISHN do not own tablet devices. The issue of purchasing one yourself and then using it for work is bound to be controversial.

That’s for the moment, anyway. In time, the prices of tablets will fall, putting them in the hands of many more people. And within the next five years the safety field is going to undergo a sea change in demographics, with baby boomers retiring and making way for a fresh, tech-savvy and ready to go generation of professionals. Keep in mind, according to ISHN surveys, the average age of a safety professional in 2013 is in his or her mid-50s.

Mobile apps session on Thursday

“Successful Use of Mobile Apps in m-Learning and Risk Communication” is the title of an education session slated for Thursday morning at Safety 2013. The session summary states: “In this “app-crazy” world, SH&E apps abound. Some are useful training tools, and certain digital materials that are not strictly ‘apps’ can be valuable if used properly. In this session you will discover best practices in selecting and using apps and other materials that facilitate m-learning and risk communication.”

The presenter: Margaret Wan, Ph.D., CIH, CHMM, CET, HEM, EOH Consulting, Saint Petersburg, FL