New program launched that forecasts safety and risk levels

Almost every occupational health and safety (OHS) inquiry by the Australian Government has acknowledged the inadequacies of data on workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths.  The 1995 Inquiry into Occupational Health and Safety (Volume 2) (pages 377-378) by the (then) Industry Commission  acknowledged the lack of empirical evidence and made up its own.  The situation has barely improved.

However a new project by West Australian academic,

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Tinnitus can be a safety hazard

I have tinnitus. There I have outed myself along with 18% of men and 14% of women, according to a research report* from Hearing Research journal published recently. For those unfamiliar with tinnitus it is a persistent buzzing or ringing in one’s ears usually caused by exposure to loud noise. It is relevant to occupational health and safety (OHS) in a number of ways:

  • It needs to be considered in issues of communication
  • Tinnitus can be distracting
  • Tinnitus may be a symptom of poor noise management practices at work.

Human Ear PainThe research study conducted by David Moore and others was focusing on “lifetime leisure music exposure” so workplace noise is mentioned in the report only in passing.

It is common that unless a worker is deaf or seen signing, the default assumption is that everyone’s hearing is undamaged. The research data above shows that the assumption is false.

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Master Builders keeping up with tech changes in safety

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MBA-Poster2On February 2016, the New South Wales division of the Master Builders of Australia (MBANSW) launched a new mobile app that applies augmented reality (AR) to access safety information related to construction sites.  The software has the capacity to access safety information in the form of videos, text, documents and internet links that can put occupational health and safety (OHS) information into the hands of workers.

There is great potential in this software application and the MBANSW should be acknowledged for supporting a technology that is still in its early development but offers an additional way of accessing important occupational health and safety information at the place where may be most needed – in the hands of workers.

But the app is not the answer to everything and, thankfully, MBANSW never claimed it was.  There are technical and organisational limitations to the app but it is a very good start.

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Extracting good from maps of death

Ever since I read the London Encyclopaedia during my honeymoon in England, I have waited for a similar encyclopaedia based on workplace safety. However, the world has changed since then and such an encyclopaedia would most likely to be created as an app.

The London Encyclopaedia is indexed by places, streets and addresses, and so should a “Safety Encyclopaedia” app through a localised map of workplace fatalities.

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Workplace safety apps reviewed

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Workplace safety apps are a fairly new addition to smart technologies and they are of variable quality and application.  Below is a quick review of some.

Glossary

One of the earliest OHS-related apps and most basic was Derek Viner‘s  Safety101.  This is essentially nothing more than a glossary of risk and safety terminology.  It has not been updated since April 2010.  The potential of this app beyond student use would be as a base for further construction of a safety-wiki or some other contemporary safety product.  The app has several spelling mistakes, needs refreshing as it is showing its age and needs to do so much more so as it is not just an off-Wikipedia curiousity.  The content needs to be given to an app-developer to create a more commercial and useful product.

Luxmeter & Luxmeter Pro

Luxmeter is curious app that uses the iPad camera to determine lighting levels.  It does not claim to be an official, technical, calibrated light meter but does provide a guide to the lux levels in a range of domestic situations. Should these readings be relied on?  Absolutely not.

Luxmeter Pro2 provides a more useful tool as it allows for calibration and more measurement options but as there is no help screen or manual, it is next to useless for the average user.

News

There are a couple of news aggregators that focus on workplace safety topics such as OH&S (developed by Smart Media Innovations) and Safety News (developed by Safety Culture).   Give them a miss and learn how to customise more effective readers and ones that show more respect for copyright.   Continue reading “Workplace safety apps reviewed”