Do you live in an earthquake/hurricane/tornado/fire prone area? Do you work at a desk? Are there chemicals around your workplace? Spending a lot of time at the club or around airplanes? Or work outside in the summer? The standards set by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) protect employees in the workplace, but can also be useful at home.
Safety training is gradually moving into the “There’s an app for it” world, so let’s explore some of the OSHA-related apps to see what’s available.
At this point, you can buy more apps to train your dog than train your employees in a safe workplace. That’s probably because the business goes to an experienced company mobile app developer to create custom applications for their particular needs. For now, App Store choices are limited, but that’s changing fast.
Here are some of the standout OSHA applications. The first is a life saver. The next two are award winners from the Labor Department’s Worker Safety and Health Application Challenge (Remember hearing about that? Oh no? Maybe next year). The next one is just a joy to have in your pocket, and we’ll end with OSHA’s first foray into the world of apps.
Pocket First Aid and CPR from the American Heart Association
Developed by Jive Media LLC – $1.99
How many apps have a life-saving story to set their value on? This one does. Dan Woolley survived 65 hours under the rubble in his hotel lobby after the earthquake in Haiti. He used this OSHA app to treat a broken leg and a head wound with possible concussion. The 2 dollar OSHA app may have saved his life. It’s full of information for everyday situations and emergencies, as well as a medical profile section for you to keep track of important information.
Are you up to date with the new CPR guidelines? This OSHA app will help you remember how many compressions per minute or, as needed And, how to apply the tourniquet correctly.
It also gives you the option to add a wallpaper with In Case of Emergency information — your name, emergency contact, and treatment information for emergency responders. I don’t know if I would use this option—do I really want my medication to pop up every time I turn on my phone?—but it’s a good idea for some people.
Features include 34 videos and 46 high-resolution illustrations; instructions for adult, child, and infant CPR and adult, child, and infant choking; content to treat many other minor or serious health incidents; and a medical profile section to keep track of your own doctors, insurance, medications, allergy history, medical history, etc.
While this is no substitute for OSHA CPR training, it will help you remember what to do when you find yourself in a critical situation.
Room for improvement: It’s hard to think straight in an emergency. Even dialing 911 can be a challenge, let alone scrolling through the OSHA app to read CPR instructions. They can add an emergency section that will act like an AED, guide the user through the steps, provide a time or count, and automatically call 911 with a locator function that provides an address.
It can also be enhanced with the option of syncing between devices for medical record information.
Whether you’ve been buried under rubble or not, it’s a good idea to review first aid information from time to time. This OSHA app makes it easy and fun.
OSHA Ergonomics Application
Developed by Sidharth Garg – $0.99
Here’s a great OSHA app for anyone who works at a desk. Many of us must have, because it reached #7 in the App Store Productivity section. In short, this OSHA app offers equipment setup advice, on-the-job stretching exercises, and even programmable reminders to take breaks. You know the advice to look up from your computer screen every 20 minutes? To stretch every few hours? This OSHA app will give you gentle reminders to take care of yourself, and you’ll feel better at the end of the day as a result.
Here are a few details about the features:
Stretching: Illustrations and instructions help you position your body correctly and get the desired effect from stretching. You can choose between individual stretches or select groups of stretches that target specific areas. You even have a countdown timer so you’re not in a rush.
Ergonomic Settings: Arrange your desk, chair, monitor, mouse and keyboard for long-term comfort and health. It’s the little things we do every day that make the difference (as my chiropractor warned me), so do the little things right. This section includes “Game of (Adjusting) Thrones” to add a bit of pizzazz to the usual activities.
“Gimme a Break” Stretching Reminders: You can select reminders to help you form good habits. Developers promise gentle and unobtrusive reminders. They can also be pre-adjusted into your own work schedule.
I think this app will make my chiropractor very happy—even if it could be bad for business.
USW Chemical Safety App
Developed by United Steelworkers Reference – FREE
This useful OSHA app created by the United Steel Workers stores chemical safety reference information on iPhone. Although specific to New Jersey, its chemical information is industry-wide standard.
Users can search the New Jersey Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) database by chemical name, DOT number, CAS number, or Substance RTK number and view the entire fact sheet, including information on workplace exposure limits, health hazards, site controls. work, personal protective equipment, handling and storage, and emergency information.
Users can also scroll through the 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.
If the user requires more information, the last part of the application uses a locator to display contact information for the nearest United Steelworkers district office and the nearest OSHA district office.
So here’s what’s great about this app (in case you’re wondering): MSDSs need to be accessible to employees so that every worker can know fully about the chemicals they work with. This often means the binder is in a centralized location, perhaps out of alignment with the actual workspace. Depending on the company’s safety culture, workers may not be motivated to put in the time or effort to get the information they need to be safe. These apps put everything at their fingertips, eliminating the need to take shortcuts—a common cause of safety incidents. And in the event of an emergency, employees have instant access to critical information.
The biggest complaint about this OSHA app is the inability to zoom in on the MSDS. Hopefully this is fixed in the next version; Having information on your phone is great, but being able to read it is even better.
Sound Level Meter
Developed by CATEATER, LLC – $0.99
While not a professional level measuring tool, this nifty app can do a great job of measuring decibels with the microphone on your iOS device. Do you need earplugs? The meter will tell you. You can also test to establish a baseline measure of average noise levels on a regular basis to evaluate whether changes need to be made for OSHA compliance. Useful for DJs too, to make sure 7th graders can hear when they turn 50 (of course they don’t care, but we can look after them).
Features include an analog decibel meter; oscilloscope with difference scale; digital meter with maximum, peak, and average decibel levels; adjustable sensitivity; noise level comparison chart; and the option to calibrate the device.
You may find yourself testing home exposures, too. How loud is a lawn mower—do you really need ear protection? How about your son’s garage band? Most importantly, how loud are the ads?
OSHA Heat Protection Equipment
US Department of Labor Weather – FREE
Every year, outdoor workers die from heat illness, including farm workers, caterers, roofers, landscapers and golf course employees. In an effort to prevent further heat illness and death, OSHA has issued its first safety application, the OSHA Heat Safety Tool. Meanwhile taken a lot “hot” to create low-tech applications that are so simple, tools and information can save lives. Positive reviewers include stray firefighters who need to quickly calculate heat index without a cell phone signal. That’s what you need when making a decision whether to mow the lawn on a hot day.
This application allows users to calculate the heat index for their workplace, and, based on the heat index, display the risk level for outdoor workers. In addition, users can get information about the protective measures to take at that risk level to stay safe from heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Some of these protective measures are drinking enough fluids, resting, gradually building up time in the sun for new workers, and being aware of the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.
I recently read about an older couple who were found dead from a heat stroke in the Vermillion Cliffs area of Utah. They are tourists and are not aware of the risks of hot weather. They may not recognize the signs of danger when they start feeling sick. Maybe this application is not so simple and ridiculous.