Mobile Apps Put Vital Info In Your Pocket

Two weeks ago, Tuesday Training was dedicated to the advantages of using common technology when managing a crisis. Tech is our topic again this week, thanks to Tyler Pendleton, one of Findlay All Hazards’s longtime trainers and project managers.

Tyler reminded us recently of how many mobile apps are useful to EHS managers and others charged with safe handling and transportation of hazardous substances. How many times have you been in a situation where you need to know a regulation or a procedure, or must identify a shipment’s contents, but the information is not immediately at hand? These days, more and more of the resources that EHS and transportation supervisors rely on are no farther away than their cell phone. As Tyler says, “Anyone can obtain this technology and have it ready in case of that one time it may be needed.”

If you’re ready to update your app collection, a great place to start is the ERG Mobile App, the digital, in-pocket version of the Emergency Response Guide. Of course, the ubiquitous and familiar ERG book is among the most common of all guides in safety management and is the “go-to” for anyone who needs to identify hazmat emergency procedures. The 2016 edition is still current as of this writing and is made available by The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Links to both the Android and iPhone versions are found at the PHMSA site.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) now provides a mobilized version of their Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. According to NIOSH, the Pocket Guide “presents key information and data in abbreviated tabular form for 677 chemicals or substance groupings.” This app runs on any mobile OS browser and can be used with or with immediate online data access. It’s available from the NIOSH site, naturally, and you can also learn more about the app, thanks to a YouTube video:

EHS and transportation managers are not the only people served by mobile apps dedicated to emergency solutions. The Association of American Railroads provides an app called Ask Rail to qualified emergency responders. Ask Rail, found at, will identify the contents of any properly numbered rail car on request. Key information found in the ERG is also found in Ask Rail, which also provides emergency contact information for all Class 1 railroads and Amtrak. The app is only intended for use by qualified personnel. The Ask Rail site will show you how to seek approval to use the app. Known emergency responders along railroad routes can also use Ask Rail and must obtain the app with the help of a railroad company.
Tyler also recommends a Federal Railroad Administration app called Rail Crossing Locator as a useful tool for anyone involved with railway transportation. Rail Crossing Locator was intended to be as much a consumer app as it was to serve safety and transportation professionals. It allows the user to view the Department of Transportation (DOT) records of any collisions that have occurred at any rail crossing. This allows travelers to decide if they want to choose an alternate route, away from a rail crossing that has a history of incidents. But the app also lets a user locate the ID number of a crossing and report conditions at the crossing location directly to the DOT. In this way, railroad supervisors and others who use rail can officially contact authorities who can respond to any hazardous situations at crossings.

Originally available only for iOS devices, like iPhone and iPad, Rail Crossing Locator is now available for Android.

Findlay All Hazards has a calendar of open enrollment workshops dedicated to Environmental and Transportation Management, in addition to the custom-tailored training we provide to EHS managers and technicians, transport supervisors, and first responders.

Leave a Comment


Forgot Password