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University of Canterbury student to produce health and safety app

University of Canterbury master of engineering management (MEM) student Eric Osborne is producing an app to help a large consulting company improve their health and safety systems.

His master project will investigate issues surrounding existing health and safety systems and develop a tablet-based system.

He has researched the app market and hopes to have a system that engineering and consultancy firm Davis Ogilvie and Partners will commission later next month. Recommendations for future development will then be made based on trials for future development.

"Hopefully if all proceeds well they should be able to use it sometime in the new year,’’ Osborne says.

"I plan to incorporate the skills learned through the university’s Master of Engineering Management programme to critically analyse and develop a system that can be integrated into the company culture and becomes used on a daily basis by all members of the team.

"They have health and safety policies and systems in place but they want to incorporate systems that add value and allow health and safety to be adopted with ease, without putting up barriers for the safe and efficient completion of work.’’

Health and safety is a major part of the of the New Zealand work environment with over 200,000 occupational injuries resulting in ACC claims which corresponds to 12 injuries per 100 workers.

Osborne will investigate the current issues surrounding existing systems and develop a tablet based system that is user friendly while still performing a variety of tasks to a high standard. His proposal will allow the engineering firm team members to complete health and safety checklist before entering any site and also have the ability to complete site inspection notes and produce a report that can be given to clients straight from site.

"It will reduce time, money and the amount of administrative work wasted on paper-based systems, allowing DO to be a more productive company, producing high quality pieces of work.

"Due to the current nature of the technology sector vast improvements have been made in the way in which documentation is recorded and stored.

"Tablet based systems are at the forefront of the construction industry with regards to health and safety as well as pricing and work scoping. As of September this year, 1.3 million mobile apps were available up from just 3000 in September 2008.’’

Osborne will present his course findings to industry leaders at the annual Master of Engineering in Management (MEM) event in Christchurch on November 28. The annual presentation event provides students with an opportunity to showcase their work and engage with the business world.

Course director Piet Beukman says past MEM projects have been influential in the start-up of high-tech companies as well as with well-established organisations.