Considering Using a Safety App? Here Are the Features to Look For

EVER SINCE APPLE opened the online App Store in 2008, our lives have been impacted in several major ways - commerce and business, our personal health and fitness. But equally as notable, occupational health and safety has benefitted in ways that protect workers from safety hazards not possible before, offering a growing range of safety features for almost every OHS need.

Safety applications can help protect people in almost any industry, however, we’ll look at how healthcare workers, utility workers as well as agricultural workers, in particular, can benefit. Additionally, we have explored all the safety features available, narrowing them down to the top features you should be looking for in a worker safety app.

Develop Work Safety Policies
Before researching a safety app, make sure you have developed and updated all of your work safety policies including a “lone worker” policy, which helps protect employees performing their jobs alone and therefore, in more vulnerable circumstances. These policies can act as frameworks when determining the best safety app for your team.

Location Tracking
Regardless of which hazards threaten your team members, knowing their location can make a major difference in whether the employee is ok or not in an emergency. Many safety apps employ local cellular and wi-fi networks through your smartphone, but they can also leverage other devices to access powerful satellite and GPS-tracking capabilities for location tracking. There are an increasing number of healthcare workers going into the community to provide care in the patient’s home; there's more than three million home health and personal care aides in the United States. Location tracking for these people is essential when responding to an emergency successfully. Likewise, people working in electrical utilities and agriculture will often work in remote areas, requiring location monitoring for their safety.

Automated Check-ins
Checking in with your employer can be a challenge when you’re busy or your hands are full at work. Automated safety check-ins are a proactive measure that allows employees to easily confirm their safety with the simple press of a button; it will also usually notify the employer or monitor when an employee misses their check-in.

People in all industries can benefit from automated check-ins. Whether it’s checking in after a visit to a client's residence or following several hours out in the field, this feature is a simple, but effective, safety practice for any organization that wants to monitor their team without being intrusive.

Panic Button
Especially when working around members of the public, the panic button feature is a valuable feature to have so that the employee can immediately request help by pushing the in-app button.

Those in healthcare work with the public, putting them at risk of potential violence and assault. In these cases, the panic button, especially a discreet in-app button, is something that could help protect these people.

Flexible and Innovative
While it is not so much a feature as it is a general characteristic, flexibility is something you need to look for so that the app can easily adapt to inevitable changes in the team, the operations and the work circumstances and environment. Employee turnover is inevitable so you want an app that allows you to easily edit and onboard new users so that they can begin experiencing the safety benefits immediately. Ultimately, look for a safety app that is not only adaptable, but innovative and constantly evolving into a better OHS tool. Like your organization, you want an app that is always moving forward and ready for whatever lies down the road.


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