Technology is impacting—and improving—every industry. The construction job-site is no different—despite the perception that it can be a “low-tech” environment.
Multiple apps that enhance safety and job performance are available for builders, and these apps are ideal for general contractors, site supervisors, and crew members alike. Education, calculation, and even gaming are all part of the long list of construction app categories, and most apps are free to download. Generally, the apps also contain a resource section that is ideal content for toolbox talks.
Sean Purcell, risk management technical manager at Builders Mutual, shares the top go-to apps that he sees making a positive impact on the job-site.
The Ladder Safety App, NIOSH’s first mobile app, is designed to improve ladder safety, providing tools, information, reference materials, and training resources when and where they’re needed. This must-have app includes a ladder-angle-measuring tool that uses visual, sound, and vibration to signal proper angle and verticality, and the app has tools that dictate proper inspection, selection, use, and accessories. Although the graphic elements make for easy use across languages, the app is available in English and Spanish, and it’s a free download for Apple iPhone/iPad and Google Android devices.
Developed to help workers make informed decisions about their noise environment and promote better hearing health,the NIOSH Sound Level Meter (SLM) app combines the best features of professional sound-level meters and noise dosimeters into an easy-to-use app. Tested and validated to current metrics and standards, the SLM app measures sound and provides information on hazardous noise, hearing-protection selection, and hearing-loss prevention. For example, a carpenter can use the app for an hour while doing a little of every task typically done over the course of the day. The measurements determine the expected daily noise exposure and guide decisions on choosing protection devices and balancing tasks for optimal hearing safety. Of course, hearing protection is recommended at all times, but this app provides the data and justification behind this often-discounted recommendation.
What’s your fall clearance? Are you harnessed correctly—with the right harness? These are the vital safety assessments provided by the multilingual Fall Protection app by Miller. With fall-clearance calculations right on your smartphone, you’ll get animated real-time results, including lanyard and SRL calculations, plus swing fall. This app helps you choose the right protection, the correct size, and the proper connection height. Although initially designed for use with Miller® fall protection products, this free calculator app can be used with any ANSI-compliant brand of equipment.
GET IN THE GAME
To engage today’s gamer generation in fall protection,Harness Hero and Harness Hero: Bridge Editionare video games developed for construction workers to help reduce injuries and fatalities related to falls. As they move through the game, players choose where to anchor, which device to use, how to set up and connect the harness, etc. Equipment inspection is also an element of the process—and everything must be completed within a set time limit. Once done, the player pushes the worker off the edge to determine if their setup was a success or if the fall results in injury or fatality.
There’s a familiar saying: “It’s not the heat. It’s the humidity.” Actually, it’s all about the heat index—a combination of both—especially when it comes to safety on the job-site.The OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Toolis an app that calculates the heat index, displays risk level, and provides safety measures that should be taken to protect workers from heat-related illness and injury. With information about symptoms and what to do in an emergency, this app is an excellent training and first-aid tool for every team member.
A little more technical than some other apps, the Trench Right app, sponsored by the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, helps workers determine and ensure safety during excavation. The user enters soil type, dimensions, and penetrometer reading, and the app calculates whether the trench angles are safe as is or if changes are needed. In addition to the calculator, this app also has a best-practices section with real photos, information about spoil piles, and more, so it serves as a great training tool as well.
These are just some of the many available apps relevant for the construction process from the blueprint phase all the way through key delivery. Because almost everyone has a smartphone on them at all times, mobile apps are effective tools for keeping your employees and your job-site as safe as possible.
For additional information on job-site apps, reach out to your Builders Mutual Risk Management consultant.