A Safe Job Site is Within Reach
“It shall be the responsibility of the employer to initiate and maintain … programs that provide for frequent and regular inspection of the job site.”
So sayeth OSHA Construction Standard 29 CFR 1926.20(b).
Failure to do so can lead to fines, or even worse, serious injury.
Thanks to mobile technology, the previously time-intensive task of safety audits have found their way onto a variety of mobile devices, bringing a whole new level of efficiency, ease and accuracy to the inspection process.
While no two apps are alike, they all share a few key features and benefits.
First, mobile safety apps eliminate the need for paper, pencil and clipboards. Instead, data is entered directly into the inspection forms’ fields on your smartphone or tablet. No more transporting documents back to the office for rekeying. That saves massive amounts of time, eliminates the possibility of documents getting lost and information being misread, and does away with paper-archiving entirely.
Second, built-in photo features allow you to take pictures and match them directly to the right information. No more time-consuming downloading or tedious image-to-text matching.
Third, the cloud aspect of most apps means data is available to anyone in your organization at any time.
Records are easy to search and always accessible should compliance issues ever arise. Plus, online access allows for better monitoring by management, which can lead to better compliance, which leads to reduced risk exposure and greater safety all around.
Finally, most safety inspection apps offer varying levels of customization. You can add, delete or modify existing forms, categorizations, and inspection items; create new fields and reports; incorporate company or industry-specific information; and more.
APPS TO APPS, NOT APPLES TO APPLES
Despite the shared features of many safety apps, the unique capabilities of each makes an apples-to apples comparison difficult. However, we’ve done our best in the chart below to compare some of the most critical features. What’s best for you depends upon the size of your business, specific inspection and reporting needs, and your company’s approach to safety issues and remediation.
OSHA REPORTING ONLINE
The federal OSHA law requires most employers with 10 or more full-time employees to keep an annual log of all work-related injuries. Failure to keep or to properly record occupational injuries on the OSHA 300 Log can result in citations, fines or warnings.
Web-based applications such as OSHAtrac,® FirstReport Online,™ and Henderson Brothers® HBIonline, among others, offer a secure means to create accident reports, print required OSHA documents, and track injury metrics in real time. Scalable for both small businesses as well as large corporations, online applications help you meet, and often exceed, OSHA reporting requirements. Simply enter the required data and you can quickly generate printable OSHA 300, OSHA 300A and OSHA 301 Logs. Plus, you can use the captured data to calculate injury rates, do industry comparisons, and spot injury trends—then take corrective actions.
As George Launey, founder and CEO of OSHAtrac states, “With all your data entered into one application, you can look at it in new ways, note patterns, and make changes. For example, if you find that three of five injuries in a given period of time were lacerations due to box cutter incidents, you can take steps to fix that. The cost of buying a safety-enhanced box cutter is considerably less than a trip to the ER for stitches and time lost due to injury.” He adds, “At the very least, an online application ensures you’re OSHA compliant. At the most, organizations proactive on safety can save themselves the cost of the product and potentially thousands more.”