OSHA-Related Apps: 5 That Could Save Your Life

OSHA-Related Apps: 5 That Could Save Your Life

Do you live in an earthquake/hurricane/tornado/fire-risk area? Do you work at a desk? Are there any chemicals around your workplace? Spend much time in clubs or around airplanes? Or work outside in the summer? The standards established by the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) protect employees in the workplace, but they can come in handy at home, too.

Safety training is gradually moving into the “There’s an app for that” world, so let’s explore a few of the OSHA-related apps to see what’s available.

At this point, you can purchase more apps to train your dog than to train your employees in workplace safety. That is probably because businesses go to a company who is an experienced mobile app developer to create custom applications for their specific needs. For now, the App Store choices are limited, but that is rapidly changing.

Here are a few OSHA apps that jump out of the crowd. The first one is the life-saver. The next two are award winners from the Department of Labor Worker Safety and Health App Challenge (Remember hearing about that one? Oh, you didn’t? Maybe next year). The next one is just fun to have in your pocket, and we’ll end with OSHA’s own first foray into the app world.

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 establish their value? This one does. Dan Woolley survived 65 hours under rubble in the lobby of his hotel after the earthquake in Haiti. He used this OSHA app to treat a compound fracture of his leg and a cut on his head with possible concussion. A 2-dollar OSHA app may have saved his life. It is chock-full of information for everyday and emergency situations, as well as a medical profile section for you to keep track of important information.

Are you up-to-date on the new CPR guidelines? This OSHA app will help you to remember how many compressions a minute or, as Dan needed, how to properly apply a tourniquet.

It also gives you an option to add wallpaper with In Case of Emergency information—your name, emergency contact, and medication information for emergency responders. I don’t know if I’d use this option—do I really want my meds to show up anytime 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 for treating many other mild or serious health incidents; and a medical profile section for keeping track of your own doctor, insurance, medication, allergy history, medical history, etc.

While this doesn’t take the place of OSHA CPR training, it will help you remember what to do when you’re in an critical situation.

Room for improvement: It’s hard to think clearly in an emergency. Even punching in 911 can be a challenge, much less scrolling through an OSHA app to read the CPR instructions. They could add an emergency section that will work the way an AED does, walking the user through the steps, giving timing or counts, and automatically calling 911 with the locator function giving the address.

It could also be improved by a sync option between devices for the medical records information.

Whether you are ever buried under rubble or not, reviewing first aid information from time to time is a good idea. This OSHA app makes it easy and fun.

OSHA Ergonomics App

Developed by Sidharth Garg – $0.99

Here’s a great OSHA app for anyone who works at a desk. There must be a lot of us, because it reached #7 in the Productivity section of the App Store. In a nutshell, this OSHA app offers equipment setup advice, workplace stretching exercises, and even a programmable reminder to take your breaks. You know the advice to look up from your computer screen every 20 minutes? To stretch every couple of hours? This OSHA app will offer you gentle reminders to take care of yourself, and you’ll feel better at the end of the day as a result.

Here’s a bit of detail on the features:

Stretches: Illustrations and instructions help you to properly position your body and get the desired effect from the stretch. You can choose between individual stretches or select a group of stretches targeting a specific area. You even have a countdown timer so you don’t rush it.

Ergonomic Setup: Set up your desk, chair, monitor, mouse, and keyboard for comfort and long-term wellness. It’s those little things we do every day that make a difference (as my chiropractor warns me), so get the little things right. This section includes a “Game of (Adjusting) Thrones” to add a little pizzazz to a mundane activity.

“Gimme a Break” Stretch Reminders: You can select the reminders to help you form good habits. The developer promises the reminders are gentle and non-obtrusive. They are also customizable to first into your own work schedule.

I think this app would make my chiropractor very happy—though it might 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 the iPhone. While it is specific to New Jersey, the chemical information is standard throughout the industry.

Users are able to search the New Jersey Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) data base by chemical name, DOT number, CAS number, or RTK Substance number and view the entire fact sheet, including information on workplace exposure limits, health hazards, workplace controls, personal protective equipment, handling and storage, and emergency information.

Users can also scroll 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.

If users need more information, the last section of the app uses the locator to display contact information for both the closest United Steelworkers district office and the nearest OSHA district office.

So here’s what is cool about this app (in case you’re wondering): the MSDS are required to be accessible to employees so every worker can be fully informed about the chemicals with which they’re working. This often means a binder in a centralized location, possibly not convenient to the actual work space. Depending on the safety culture of the company, workers may not be motivated to take the time or effort to get the information they need to be safe. This app puts it all at their fingertips, eliminating the need to cut corners—usually the cause of safety incidents. And in the event of an emergency, employees have instant access to crucial information.

The biggest complaint about this OSHA app is the inability to be able to zoom in on the MSDS. Let’s hope this is fixed in the next version; having the information in 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-grade measuring device, 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 let you know. You can also test to establish a baseline measure for average noise levels on a regular basis to evaluate whether changes need to be made for OSHA compliance. Handy for DJs, too, to make sure the 7th graders will be able to hear when they’re 50 (of course they don’t care, but we can look out for them).

Features include an analog decibel meter; oscilloscope with difference scales; digital meter with maximum, peak, and average decibel level; adjustable sensitivity; noise level comparison chart; and an option to calibrate the device.

You may find yourself testing home exposure, as well. How loud is the lawn mower—do you really need ear protection? How about your son’s garage band? Most importantly, just how much louder are those commercials?

OSHA Heat Safety Tool

U.S. Department of Labor Weather – FREE

Every year, outdoor workers die of heat illness, including farm workers, caterers, roofers, landscapers, and golf course employees. In an effort to prevent heat illness and further fatalities, OSHA has come out with its first safety app, OSHA Heat Safety Tool. While it’s taken a lot of “heat” for creating such a simple low-tech app, the tools and information can be life-saving. Positive reviewers include a wild land firefighter who needs to quickly calculate the heat index without a cell phone signal. It’s just what you need when you’re making a decision about whether to mow the lawn on a hot day.

The app allows users to calculate the heat index for their worksite, and, based on the heat index, displays a risk level to outdoor workers. In addition, users can get information about the protective measures that should be taken at that risk level to stay safe from heat-related illness such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Some of those protective measures are drinking enough fluids, taking rest breaks, gradually building up time in the sun for new workers, and knowing the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.

I recently read about an older couple found dead of heat exhaustion in the Vermillion Cliffs area of Utah. They were tourists and simply didn’t realize the risks of the hot weather. They may not have recognized the danger signs when they started to feel ill. Maybe this app isn’t so simple and silly after all.

Felix Jacobson
Felix Jacobson is an authority in the tech and automotive industry. His passion is educating consumers on how to find the best deals out there - from great deals on new/used gadgets to the best auto refinance rates. He believes strongly that consumers should not be taken advantage of!

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