In the last decade, the world has embraced and integrated mobile technology in just about every conceivable capacity. Nearly everyone now carries powerful internet-enabled smartphones in their pockets wherever they go. From scanning a QR code to view the menu at a favorite restaurant to listening to an audiobook during the daily commute, people have become extremely accustomed to using mobile apps in every facet of their daily lives. Therefore, it’s clear that the next step for EH&S professionals to enhance the efficiency and reach of their organization’s safety programs is embracing a mobile-friendly EH&S management software solution.
Today’s most cutting-edge EH&S software platforms take advantage of mobile capabilities in how they allow users – both general and administrative – to interact with the system and access and generate the data contained within it. Outlined in this article are some of the key benefits that EH&S managers and their organizations can yield from the use of mobile EH&S applications.
Safety Professionals in the Field
The bulk of daily work for safety professionals takes place in the field where operations are being carried out. Therefore, cutting down on the back-and-forth between the desk and the front-line by enabling users to perform EH&S tasks (such as inspections, accident investigations, and inventory management) on-site with their mobile devices and a cloud-based safety platform is extremely beneficial.
Quality, cloud-based EH&S management software typically includes a native mobile application and browser access that is mobile-friendly (for both smartphones and tablets). Various modules, such as inspections or incident reporting, are integrated directly into the application, allowing for a truly optimized EH&S management experience in the field. A mobile app also allows users to take advantage of other hardware typically found in mobile devices (camera, GPS, voice-to-text). A camera can be accessed instantaneously for importing images directly into the application, or scanning QR codes and bar-codes for inventory, training, and inspection purposes.
Even with today’s powerful network solutions, users may occasionally find themselves in locations with poor internet connectivity. Many modern EH&S management software options allow for offline use of the product. In these scenarios, users can synchronize their mobile application before heading into the field, switch to offline mode, conduct the inspection/save data to the device, and re-sync once they are back within range of a proper network. This means that no location is off-limits in terms of data connectivity, keeping your program as up-to-date as possible.
End-User Information Access
Now more than ever, people find themselves on the go as they conduct work-related projects, research, studies, or client relations. With the rise of the mobile era comes a variety of extremely powerful and efficient options for both communicating safety issues with those end-users and providing instant access to any number of important resources (e.g., manuals, forms, surveys, notifications).
A well-integrated, mobile-friendly EH&S software platform can grant users quick access to things like hazard assessments, training data, chemical inventory, safety data sheets, inspection reports, or any number of other important safety documents. Users can reach these resources with a few taps on their smartphone or tablet, without having to be in an office, and with an interface that is familiar to them.
As much as the mobile world has seemingly grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, new advances are happening all the time, especially in the realm of EH&S software. The tools and concepts mentioned above, when paired with existing methods such as email, text notifications, and web-based resources, present unlimited opportunities for EH&S management to take safety programs to the next level.
Joe comes to the SafetyStratus team with over 15 years of experience in the biological sciences and laboratory management and safety. At the University of Connecticut, and later at the University of the Sciences, Joe managed multiple high-volume biology teaching laboratories. He also worked as an Aquatic Biologist for the Philadelphia Water Department’s Office of Watersheds. Most recently Joe held the position of Laboratory Safety Manager in the University of the Sciences’ Environmental Health & Safety Department, overseeing all aspects of safety inspections and compliance in over 150 campus teaching and research spaces.
Originally from Connecticut, Joe has lived in the Philadelphia suburbs for the last 10 years. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Biology from the University of Maine at Fort Kent. In his free time, Joe enjoys working out, taking in a good football game or movie, and traveling with his wife to sunny Caribbean destinations whenever possible.