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Workplace safety apps

Innovations in mobile and cloud-computing are helping employers reduce injury risk and enhance employee engagement. Workers can have real time access to do their job safely, such as referencing Safety Data Sheets (SDS) or monitoring heat, they can capture safety-relevant data such as reporting near misses and identifying and correcting hazards, and can facilitate teamwork with faster communication and collaboration. For management, the availability of dashboards and reports enables better and more efficient decision-making, improves accountability, and strengthens compliance.

However, the challenge is getting started, evaluating the options, and determining the best solutions. To begin, decide what you need to do and involve management and end users in the decision-making process. What is the purpose? Will it save time and improve your processes? How much connectivity do you need? Who will own the device? Will the end-user employees be comfortable with it and receive the necessary training? Will the opportunity to submit a report anonymously be allowed? How will privacy be managed?

Apps can be stand-alone or SaaS (Software as a Service), which is a way of delivering software applications over the Internet, with no complex software and hardware management. Standalone apps work best when the job can be done independently and SaaS works best if the job requires input from multiple people at once.

Companies can develop their own custom apps, use private-label reporting apps provided by vendors that specialize in safety management systems, or purchase apps from the Apple or Android App Store. With a custom-built app, you can oversee the development and get what you need, but it will require a considerable investment of time, patience, and money. Private-label reporting apps are branded with the company's name and logo and often include a mobile app and online dashboard, which are connected. As an example, the focus could be on reporting near misses, safety violations, or facilities and operations issues that could lead to potential problems in the future, as well as enabling employees to check on the status of their reports.

There are hundreds of workplace safety and health apps available from the app stores and it takes time and research to determine which are a good fit for your organization. Some of the more popular apps used by safety professionals include: