Improving Safety with Technology

Safety Impacts Your Career

Think Safety First 190

Improving Safety with Technology by Kurtis Salter (ESQ)

“There is an app for that” is endangered of being overplayed, but for the purposes of Argonne we have just begun the transformation.  The real question is how we can use smart devices such as an iPhone, Android Phone, Android Touch Pad and iPad to make life easier, more efficient and safer. That’s right, safer.

Have you ever used Evernote, Penultimate or Skitch?  These three apps have been instrumental in how I manage projects, communicate to working groups and aggregate multi-media in a useful plaform.

(Hint: this is the point you pull out your smart device, look and download one or all of these applications onto your device).

sketchEvernote is a cloud-based aggregate program that allows you to take meeting notes, record an audio clip, clip web content, manage to-do lists, take and edit pictures all while accumulating it into a “workbook” that can be shared.  Penultimate and Skitch are applications that allow you to hand sketch notes, make drawings and diagrams or edit pictures for use on the Evernote platform (they all play nicely together).

These tools are excellent for professionals in the field. When I am out and about performing a walk-through or conducting an observation conversation I have my mobile devices in hand.

Using these tools I make laboratory observation notes, take pictures and draw sketches. I can also fill out to-do lists, checklists and complete field notes as I perform safety walk-throughs. I can take pictures if I see something that needs attention, write a short report, tag it and make field notes on the pictures and immediately email these documents as attachments if needed.

Sometimes I may need a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) on the fly.  I use MSDS Mobile by KHA or Chemical Safety Data Sheets – ICSC app.  Both of these apps are free and available for iOS and Android. Just perform a key-word search for them.

Here are a few more safety related apps:

  • The Periodic Table: There are several apps that are free.  Do a quick search for Periodic Tables if you need to research an element and its properties.
  • Need quick information on First-Aid?  I use the American Red Cross app.
  • Need to know the basics of CPR?  The American Heart Association puts out a nice easy to use app.
  • Need a light in a pinch? Yes, there are several free apps that can use your camera’s flash to create a light to illuminate nooks, crannies and under your desk.
  • Need a unit converter? You can find free unit converters that help when converting from English to metric and back again. Try Converter+.
  • Bad weather a possibility? You can receive NOAA Weather Alerts with their app.
  • Many mobile carriers also provide free SMS text alerts when an AMBER alert or a tornado warning has been issued.

Think of all the various scientific equipment, terminology and tools you use. You may be surprised to find “there is an app for that” that you can use to improve and enhance your research, productivity and your ever important personal safety.

salterKurtis Salter, MS, CIH, CSP was an ESH Manager in Argonne’s Nuclear and Waste Management Division but recently transitioned to support the Physical Science and Engineering (PSE) and Energy Sciences Directorates as a Safety and Health champion

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