Tablets and apps are changing how OSH pros do their jobs
The phrase “information at your fingertips” has never been truer than with today’s tablet technology. The ability to access email and the Internet, as well as record audio and video from nearly any location has forever changed how we communicate and do our jobs.
In the January issue of the American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) Professional Safety, authors David Fender and Clinton Wolfley outline which tablet applications they find most useful in their roles as occupational health and safety professionals in the field. The authors, who have no financial interest in these apps, focus on ones available for the Apple iOS and Android tablet operating systems.
Audit/Surveillance and Inspections
iAuditor is a flexible tool an OSH professional can use to create daily reports and perform audits and inspections. The user can take photos with the tablet and embed them in a report. This app is also effective for incident investigations; for example, witness statements can be captured using a tablet’s audio recording features.
With OSHA’s Heat Safety Tool app, a user can calculate the heat index for a given work site, and receive information on the related risk level to outdoor workers. This app can also provide reminders about protective measures (e.g. drink fluids, schedule rest breaks, plan for and know what to do in an emergency, acclimation, monitor for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.
The SoundMeter app measures dB levels. Although it is not a calibrated measurement, it tends to be close to the actual levels in the authors’ experience. This app can be used to quickly determine whether a full assessment with proper instruments is needed.
“Safety professionals and organizations that incorporate tablet devices into their work practices can realize cost savings and increase safety performance,” the authors write. “As tasks such as paper-based audits and inspections are conducted on tablet devices, users can focus more time on higher priority activities.”
Click here to learn more about these and other apps and about Professional Safety journal.