By Lee Sadd

While workplace health & safety is critical to keeping people safe and happy, not everybody sees it that way. The burden of fulfilling regulations and inspections means some people see it as a chore, an unnecessary cost, or something that is imposed on businesses.

Health & safety is vital, but there’s always some room to make processes more efficient, and to reduce the burden on businesses. Here are eight innovative mobile apps that offer precisely that: taking some of the hassle out of learning about, reporting, and avoiding hazards.

LifeWorks (Android / iOS)

When people think of health and safety at work, they often think of the physical – in other words, preventing injuries and accidents. But a huge part of workplace wellbeing is personal wellness, and catering to people’s mental health needs. LifeWorks offers an interesting new approach.

This wellness and social media app creates groups for employees to offer each other praise and

recognition, with a leaderboard for the most helpful employees. LifeWorks also provides employee assistance with a range of life tips, and helps on the financial side with exclusive offers, including discounts on cinema tickets. The app has had some technical glitches in the past, but the idea continues to shine through, and it has a great future in store.

iAuditor (Android / iOS)

Inspectors tend to get a bad rep. Part of this is the feeling that H&S legislation is overzealous, and the cost attributed to an inspection and any necessary changes. Another big part however is the amount of paperwork, with dense reports making it easy for important details to get lost, and harder to pin down the right course of action.

iAuditor aims to change all this. This brilliant app allows users to easily build and compile inspection forms and reports, and synchronize them across devices. Reports can be fleshed out with annotated images, and sent directly to coworkers or exported as PDF files. Analytics can even track performance across multiple reports from several different sites.

This isn’t just a boon for existing health & safety inspectors. The ability to quickly create and standardize an auditing process across an organization makes it perfect for internal health & safety reporting. The logistical convenience of iAuditor could add substantial value to the role of a health & safety supervisor or site manager, helping them to make decisions and disseminate best practices more quickly.

bSafe (Android / iOS)

While there are millions of apps to keep your phone tracked and safe from thieves, fewer apps focus on keeping you safe. When your phone is already being tracked every day through Maps and other GPS software, why not use this to your personal advantage? bSafe is a great app predicated on this idea, putting your personal safety in your hands.

Another social network with safety features, bSafe allows you to add friends as ‘Guardians’ to keep an eye on your whereabouts whenever you choose. You can mark journeys, ask people to escort you, and let people know when you have arrived at a destination. The app also includes a nifty feature to simulate a fake call – helping you escape from awkward situations without having to actually phone a friend.

Safety Meeting App (Android / iOS)

While safety principles hold firm across continents, the United States has many legally distinct standards for which compliance is a must. If you’re looking to cover all your bases as an American business, the Safety Meeting App is an invaluable tool.

The app claims to be the only one which allows companies to record and track mandatory safety meetings, accidents, incidents, near misses and attendance, all from a single hub. By inputting the sectors your business operates in, the app can display nearly a thousand safety toolbox topics covering more than 50 licenses and professions.

The Safety Meeting App also provides topics for meetings and bulk emails, and allows you to keep minutes based on these suggestions. It is subscription based, but the app is free for thirty days – or an entire year if you sign up on their website.

Occupational Health & Safety (Android / iOS)

It’s back around the globe for this next app, hailing from sunny Australia. This portal occupational H&S and workplace safety targets itself at professionals around the world however, and even features separate job listings for the US, UK, Australia and Canada.

OH&S aims to be a one-stop shop for all H&S professionals, and those who are interested in the field. The app features safety related news headlines, a range of embedded training and safety videos, and the aforementioned job boards. It’s also free, and has been going since 2012, meaning it’s well-stocked and well supported.

Ladder Safety (Android / iOS)

In comparison to other Western countries, the U.S. authorities have been quicker to bring out top quality apps in the field of safety. One such example is Ladder Safety by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This straightforward but functional app is an absolute must for individuals working at heights.

Using your phone’s gyroscope, microphone and camera, the app will let you know what is a safe angle for your portable ladder. It also provides a handy checklist for ladder selection, extension and assessment, as well as more general guidelines and reference material. Easy to use, visually engaging and free – why wouldn’t you use it?

Sound Meter (Android)

Modern phones are expensive pieces of equipment, and they tend to have high quality components. This is especially true of your phone’s microphone – making it perfect for our next app, the straightforwardly named Sound Meter.

Sound Meter offers a number of readings on your environmental noise, with a decibel gauge and current noise reference. The app can be calibrated to better match your phone, and can also collate the minimum, maximum and average decibel level when used over a period of time.

As the app itself warns, however, phones are generally tuned to hearing the human voice, and so extremely high decibels may not be picked up or accurately recorded. For establishing that there’s a safety problem which needs to be explored further, though, Sound Meter is a quick and efficient tool.

Enablon Safety (Android / iOS)

Enablon is a trusted brand in safety software, and not without reason. The company has a strong reputation for environmental management and risk minimization – characteristics that are all present in their excellent communication app.

The premise of Enablon Safety is simple – employees can use the app to log incidents and near-misses. Where Enablon differs is allowing workers to take pictures, video or audio alongside a description, and to pin the location of the incident on a map.

Having sent the full report to a safety administrator, they can then log the incident and send out a warning. Anyone using the app within the proximity of the incident will then receive an alert, warning them of the danger. It’s simple, free, and extremely effective.

This post was contributed by Lee Sadd, a senior trainer at health & safety consultant and training provider SAMS Ltd. SAMS is a leading provider of online safety courses, and offers a range of classroom courses, business advisory services and event management solutions in the UK.