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Health and safety gets smart with new cloud app

Kiwi company Cloud M has launched the Blerter app in a bid to break down silos between organisations when it comes to managing health and safety.

The app gives users a profile on a network they access on their mobile device. That network takes a project view, allowing highly mobile workforces made up of customers, consultants, sub-contractors and everyone involved to communicate with each other.

Companies can use it to identify hazards, report accidents and near misses and escalate them, and allow individuals to notify others. The user’s profile lets them ensure they’re compliant with training needs like first aid and site safe. It also uses located technology so staff can be found if there’s an on-site emergency.

Cloud M founder Richard Gill says many organisations are using manual or paper-based systems, but the main problem is health and safety management systems that restrict communication to one organisation.

“I see the example of a construction site, with a whole lot of people and equipment and logos,” he says. “Some sites can have hundreds of sub-contracting businesses involved, with so many employees coming and going through the lifecycle of a project. Most health and safety systems are silo-ed behind these logos. Each silo has their own system but they don’t talk to each other.

“Blerter is about connecting everyone through the supply chain and creating one transparent system where everyone is connected.”

Blerter is based on the same back end as a previous Cloud M offering, Alerter, adopted by Civil Defense for safety notifications.

“Blerter was a natural progression from keeping people safe at home to keeping them safe in the workplace,” says Gill.

Cloud M is targeting high risk New Zealand industries where it can have the most chance of saving lives – those with the biggest incidence of injury or fatality, and where workforces are more mobile than most, he says.

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, there are 102 work-related deaths, 378 work-related serious non-fatal injuries on average in New Zealand each year, contributing to social costs of $3.5 billion annually.

The revised National Action Agenda focuses on five sectors with consistently high rates of injuries and fatalities – construction, agriculture, forestry, manufacturing and fishing.

Blerter aims to minimise harm in these and other high risk industries by empowering the supply chain to monitor health and safety in real time.

“People might visit five or 10 locations in one day and they’re doing quite hazardous stuff,” says Gill.

Engineer and infrastructure company Downer, with a 21,000 strong workforce, has been piloting Blerter in its ultrafast broadband team in New Zealand.

The company has the backing of tech industry entrepreneur and leader Helen Robinson, who is its chair, and US-based innovation and cleantech expert Tony Seba, who’s joined the board.

Tony Seba is an entrepreneur, educator, author, keynote speaker, executive, consultant and business architect who lectures at Stanford University on disruption and clean energy.

He’ll help Cloud M take Blerter into the US market, says Gill, adding it wants to take the service global.

The app is currently free for iOS devices.

Gill has previously built up and sold several technology companies and has known Seba for about 10 years. Gill started Cloud M in 2010.

Amanda Sachtleben is an Auckland writer and social media type, who's also Idealog's former tech editor and business journalist.

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