Safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, eye-wash stations, and defibrillators can save lives and prevent serious injuries. That is why equipment maintenance is vital and regular inspections are often federally mandated.
Traditionally, these inspections are performed manually by individuals, such as firefighters and other professionals, using a clipboard, paper and a pen. As a result, maintaining inspection records, avoiding errors and proving to regulators that inspections were conducted as required can be problematic.
That’s where eTRAX enters the picture.
A subsidiary of Pittsburgh-based John Daniel Associates, a business intelligence and performance management company, eTRAX is a mobile application that uses optical scanning and barcode technology to cue up questions for inspectors to answer on their smart phone or other mobile device. The questions comprise the steps of an inspection of a fire extinguisher or other piece of safety equipment. The fully-digital process allows the inspection to be conducted and recorded without resorting to paper and pen.
“In heavy manufacturing plants, if you cannot prove through documentation that you inspected all of the fire extinguishers in a particular area when the OSHA inspector comes to ask for that evidence, then you get fined,” says Dan Volitich, president of eTRAX and founder of John Daniel Associates. Because the fines are assessed per extinguisher, “they can get pretty steep, pretty quick.”
Rose-Hulman Ventures interns created the eTRAX mobile application using “current technology, mobile technology, synchronization technology…the whole system from the ground up,” Volitich says. “We just told them what we wanted to do and they came up with some great designs.”
When it goes to market later this year, the eTRAX system will be primarily used for fire extinguisher inspections, but will it soon encompass other pieces of safety equipment, Volitich says. “It’s for anything that needs to be inspected and you need evidence to prove it was inspected.”
Volitich chose to use Rose-Hulman Ventures after being impressed with the experience his daughter, Katina, a 2017 Rose-Hulman biomedical engineering alumna, received as a Ventures intern. And while helping students get real-world experience was part of his motivation for using Rose-Hulman Ventures, there was no compromise on results.
“I think the interns did a good job listening to the spirit of what we wanted to have happened and used their creativity to give us that,” Volitich says. “The team did a great job.”