7 Ways to Use Smartphones for Workplace Safety

Last week during the Oregon Governor’s Occupational Safety and Health (GOSH) Conference, Scott Clark and Shelley Nasby, senior safety management consultants for SAIF Corporation, spoke about several ways to leverage mobile technology to make you and your company more organized and efficient when it comes to safety.

I had the opportunity to attend the workshop and, even though I am a native to mobile technology and smartphones, I learned many tips and tricks I had no idea even existed! They also shared some of the best safety apps around that I believe every safety professional should at least be aware of.

Keep reading for 7 ways to use smartphones for workplace safety that will make your job easier!

1. Use your smartphone to take videos and pictures during safety inspections, investigations, and analyses.

Your smartphone camera is a great tool to use during inspections, investigations, and other analyses. For example, you can use your smartphone camera to:

  • Perform an ergonomic analysis. The slow motion video capability (or SloPro app if you want a paid version) of many smartphones can be used while a worker is performing a job to catch postures and hazards that they may been missed.
  • Give real-time feedback. Have you tried to tell an employee they should try sitting ergonomically correct, but they were slightly resistant to the belief they aren’t sitting correctly? Use the camera on your tablet or phone to take a picture of the employee’s posture and show them what it looks like in comparison to a picture showing the proper seat positioning.

If you are going to take a picture during a safety inspection, accident investigation, or any other type of analysis, it can be helpful to turn on your camera’s grid lines to center objects on the screen. Or, if you decide to take a video instead, be sure you turn your phone sideways so the video is landscape and not vertical. You are able to capture a wider view this way.

Also, are any of you like me and can never seem to take a video or photo without it turning out blurry or shaky? If so, you may want to consider the iStabilizer Flex Pod to ensure your videos and pictures have the highest quality. The flexible legs allow you to wrap and secure your smartphone to virtually any surface.

2. On that note, paperless note apps can help during inspections, investigations, and analyses, too.

Instead of carrying around several pieces of paper, you can use paperless note apps to help record your findings during inspections, investigations, and analyses. You have a couple options:

  • Notability, which allows you to take notes, annotate PDFs, and record.
  • Bamboo Paper, which has auto palm detection but requires a stylus device.
  • Dragon Dictation, which is a speech to text app.

3. The Skitch app can help with hazard documentation–and makes reporting those hazards so much easier!

The Skitch app allows you to take a picture and so much more.

Instead of having to upload a regular photo into a report and make annotations within the report, you can use the Skitch app to mark up a photo on-the-go with arrows, lines, and other annotations. After you are done, you can then send it on in an instant and then easily put the annotated photo into a report once you are in front of a computer.

An easy application for this technology is when you are inspecting the workplace and identifying hazards. If you see a hazard, simply snap a picture with Skitch, use arrows to focus others to the correct area of the photo, and then provide a description.

4. Do you know your videoconferencing options for those with multi-location safety committees?

Often times there may be several safety professionals in a company spread across multiple site locations. Instead of waiting to hold a meeting until everyone can meet at the same location or simply conducting a conference call where visuals can’t be utilized, videoconferencing technology can help connect several individuals across different locations.

Some of the most popular videoconferencing applications include:

The Google Hangouts app is probably the best for safety meetings that need to include more than 2-3 people.

5. Use apps to protect lone workers.

Sometimes employees must work alone due to their line-of-work or responsibilities. Unfortunately, there are a lot of safety issues associated with lone workers, since other employees or managers may not be around if something goes wrong. However, there are several apps that can be utilized to help keep lone workers safe:

The main downside of these apps is that they require a signal, which sometimes doesn’t exist in remote areas where workers may have to work alone. In these cases, it is best to go with a physical device that is GPS-centered.

6. Use your smartphone for continuous education.

As a safety professional, it is important to stay up-to-date in the OSH industry or even take practice quizzes if you are seeking to obtain a credential. If you have been looking for some great options on your smartphone for your continuous education needs, don’t neglect to check these out:

7. Check out these other helpful safety apps!

There are literally hundreds of apps out there that can help you and your company. However, Clark and Nasby from SAIF Corporation said these are some of their favorites:

I hope you found at least one way you can begin to utilize your smartphone to make your job easier and increase workplace safety success!

Have you heard of or used any other safety technology, tools, software or apps? Comment below or join our forum conversation!