Monday, April 1, 2013

Four Best OSHA-related Safety Apps on the Web - Download Them All for FREE

Can you believe it’s already April? This happens to be one of my favorite months of the year for a couple of reasons. First of all, it means that Spring has sprung and the weather starts to get appreciably warmer (at least in the part of the country where I live). It also happens to be the month during which I celebrate my birthday. However, when you get to be my age, you tend to have everything you really need, and the presents I get are usually shoved into the back of the closet. But that does not stop my two daughters from using their daddy’s credit card to try and buy me the perfect gift.
This year, the girls bought me one of those new “smart” phones, the fancy kind with a big fat display screen and numerous other built-in goodies. I’ll admit it took me a few hours to figure out how to place a call, answer a call, and send an email using my new smartphone. But after conquering those basic tasks, I decided it was time to try and download some of those fancy new Apps I keep hearing about.
Being the consummate safety professional that I am, I decided the first App I should download was the OSHA Heat App that came out a couple of years ago. You know the one; if an employee is working his butt off, but is not sure if he should be thirsty for a drink of water, he simply pulls out his smart phone, connects to the internet, opens the OSHA Heat App, enters several variables like temperature, humidity, expected workload and his mother’s maiden name, then presses a button and crosses his fingers that the App does not crash; and if all the stars align and he bought an unlimited data plan for the smartphone, it alerts the worker whether or not it is time to stop and get a drink of water. I know what you’re thinking; “how did I ever get along without this App!” But believe it or not, this App only cost OSHA a little more than a quarter-million taxpayer dollars to have developed. So after downloading that hot new App (no pun intended; actually, it was intended), I set out to find more safety-related Apps to download from the world-wide web.
What I found was that there were actually quite a few OSHA-related safety Apps available, some good and some not-so-good.  In fact, OSHA held a contest last year to encourage people to develop health and safety-related Apps, and you can see their list of winners on their website. But I wanted to research ALL of the safety Apps available on the web so I could pick out the most useful ones, based on factors like download speed, ease of use, and most importantly, potential for preventing an injury. And I narrowed them all down to the top four most useful Apps, which I downloaded onto my smartphone.
Suddenly a thought came to me; since people today are simply too busy to research all of the Apps that are available for download on the internet, I should publish my list of what I have deemed to be the top four OSHA-related safety Apps available, and let others share in this wealth of knowledge. So here they are, appearing in no particular order, my list of the four best OSHA-related safety Apps available on the web:
OSHA Cold App – this App is the obvious compliment to the OSHA Heat App. Here are the instructions on how to use this App:
Place your smartphone face up on the ground in an open area located outdoors, exposed to the elements. Wait 12 minutes, and then scratch a fingernail over the screen. Then look at the screen; if you see a layer of frost buildup on the screen, very cold weather has been detected. You should immediately take a break and sip some hot chocolate.
OSHA Black Ice Detection App – this is another cold weather-related App, and it helps you detect when a thin layer of hard-to-see "black ice” has built up on sidewalks or pavement, which could lead to a nasty slip and fall. To use this App, follow these instructions:
Place your smartphone flat on its back on top of the sidewalk or pavement. Use one hand (either left or right) to give the phone a shove. If the phone easily slides across the pavement, black ice has been detected, and you should immediately apply some ice-melting compound before walking on the sidewalk or pavement.
OSHA Suspended Overhead Load Avoidance App – insures you become aware that a load is suspended over your head when working near cranes and hoists; failure to know this could result in potential injury should the load be lowered on top of you. Here is how you use this App:
Turn on the “camera” function of your smartphone. Point the phone straight up into the air directly over your head, then look up through the viewfinder or at the display screen (whichever is applicable to your smartphone). If you see a load suspended directly over your head through the viewfinder or on the screen of your smartphone, you should immediately move to a different area. Repeat this process often.
OSHA Proper Lifting Technique App – this App is designed to automatically alert you when you fail to use proper lifting techniques when picking up a box or similar load off the floor, exposing you to a potentially painful back injury. The instructions for using this App are listed here:
Place your smartphone flat on the top of your head, and maintain your head in an upright position so that the phone stays balanced on top of your head. Then, carefully lower your body by bending your knees while keeping your back straight and maintaining your head in an upright position, taking care to keep the phone balanced on your head. Then grasp the object to be lifted with both hands, and slowly stand back up by straightening your legs while keeping your back straight and your head up. If the smartphone slides off the top of your head at any time during this process, it is telling you that you did not maintain proper lifting form, and the lift must be aborted at once!
I think you’ll agree that these four new smartphone Apps are a “must have” for both safety professionals and employees at many of our workplaces. And best of all, each one of these Apps work with all nine versions of the iPhone, as well as on all Android phones. Plus, they can all be downloaded for FREE at our website (  So please, share this blog post with everyone in your network so they too can benefit from my research.
Do you have other smartphone Apps that you highly recommend? Or better yet, can you dream up an idea for a new OSHA Safety App that we could develop together? If so, share your idea with me by entering it into the Comments box below. And if your idea for a new smartphone App looks as promising as these I have found, I may even have it developed and put up for sale on the web; then you and I can split the profits! 
Oh yeah. In closing, I remember that there is one more thing I really like about the month of April; it is the month during which we get to celebrate April Fool’s Day. Hope no one pulls one over on you!