m-Health for Just-In-Time Occupational Safety Training

Award Information
Department of Health and Human Services
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
CELL PODIUM, 211 WARREN ST, STE 203, NEWARK, NJ, 07103-3568
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
(732) 991-5112
Business Contact:
(732) 991-5112
Research Institution:

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): m-Health for Just-In-Time Occupational Safety Training The overall aim of the proposed SBIR Phase I is to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of concepts from the emerging field of mobile health (m-Health) on improving the occupational safety of construction site workers. In particular, the proposed effort will conduct field trials that assess the utility of m-Health as a multifaceted construction site job aid for safety training and monitoring that exploits the ability of workers' cell phones to send and receive multimedia. The popularity of mobile text messaging (SMS) in m-Health has prompted its use as a method to deliver simple safety alerts. A drawback of SMS is that it only supports brief unformatted text (under 160 characters) which severely constrains the information it can convey. Picture and video messaging (MMS) among cell phone users is gaining SMS in popularity. Like SMS, MMS does not require internet access and is as low-cost and resilient to wireless bandwidth interruptions. However, MMS is much more informative and appealing than just text. MMS pushes slideshows with audio narration and videos into a cell phone, which can be played even when there is no signal coverage and which are easily shared. The deployment of commercial services using MMS is impeded by a lack of multimedia interoperability among cell phones and carriers. For example, different cell phones will often support different file formats, and an instructional video that plays on one phonemight not play on another. Cell Podium proposes an innovative broadcast technology that ensures users receive mobile multimedia in formats that play on their cell phones, regardless of the user's device model (smartphone or legacy device), carrier, or typeof subscription plan (e.g., individual, pay-as-you-go, corporate, family, with or without data plan). The Atlantic OSHA Training Center (Piscataway, NJ) is using this technology to send refresher videos to the cell phones of enrolled students, with promising results on class performance. However, it remains to be seen if this technology can be used effectively in a construction site to reduce safety violations and workplace accidents. The proposed effort will conduct a pilot at a construction site of Structure Tone (the largest commercial construction firm in New Jersey). The pilot consists of broadcasting both periodic occupational safety refresher videos and safety/logistics alerts to participating workers at a Structure Tone construction site, and assessing any subsequent reduction in safety violations and workplace incidents. Each participating worker will only receive videos relevant to the worker's assignment at the job site. Site safety directors and superintendents witnessing a worker committing a safety violation will also be able to send to that worker's cell phone a refresher video specific to the violation. The pilot will also assess the technology's ability to collect imagery, video, voice narration, and notes made from any cell phone to documentcompliance with and violation of safety rules. In collaboration with Structure Tone, Cell Podium will develop a library of brief workplace safety refresher videos tailored to at least ten trades and two languages, and evaluate the adaptation of existing training material into mobile formats. Site workers will be invited to enroll in the pilot project, which simply entails making a brief call to a local phone number; this allows the Cell Podium technology to capture the caller ID, the multimedia capabilities of the phone, and the caller's trade. At any time, any participants can opt-out or submit comments. Cell Podium will broadcast safety videos for at least three months, and Structure Tone will assess any trends in safety violations, site morale and cleanliness, and workplace incidents using the mechanisms it already has in place. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: m-Health for Just-In-Time Occupational Safety Training The proposed m-Health technology is content-agnostic, and supports outreach to demographicswith cell phones, including underserved and vulnerable populations which often rely on cell phones more than landlines. By addressing obstacles to mobile media interoperability with middleware (instead of with mobile apps), and exploiting cell phone adoption trends, the technology retains its value as new mobile devices are introduced into the marketplace while maintaining support for older or less expensive cell phones.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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