The development of this mobile application affords access to new technology and auditing content to small companies that otherwise could not afford the cost of an enterprise level safety auditing system. The data can be collected on the device without cellular phone coverage and can be uploaded at a later time. The data sharing concept differentiates itself from other private sector safety auditing solution companies in that the data collected will be securely shared publicly with the goal of reducing known hazards associated with common logging injuries and fatalities whereas private audit tool companies limit access to the collected data to customers.
The third year of funding showed steady progress towards the project’s goals including:
- Hiring of a research coordinator (Pat Donnelly) from the logging industry to lead recruiting efforts and field auditing. This hire resulted in the project completing recruitment (including over recruiting for attrition).
- The completed field and management audit tool content (completed, piloted and tested in Year 2) was converted to be used on a commercially available mobile auditing software (iAuditor) as part of the mobile application platform. This was done to make the auditing more user friendly for the loggers and when auditing with no cellular coverage. The internally developed audit tool was problematic under these circumstances during testing and initial baseline testing.
- With Pat Donnelly on staff in Year 3, 47 logging companies were recruited into the Timber-Safe program with 35 remaining in the program. The grant plan was to recruit 30 companies into the program with 20% over recruiting for attrition (36).
- To date 49 of the 90 baseline audits have been completed. The research design requires each participant to complete 3 baseline audits at 9-week intervals prior to the intervention occurring.
- An additional scope of work was added in Year 3. A multi-method research initiative is being conducted to support the Timber-Safe Program’s strategic communication needs. This research will identify and analyze three distinct target audiences and the specific messaging efficacy for each audience. Jennifer L. Harker, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University will oversee this research. The Timber-Safe Program’s current strategic communication needs include participant recruitment, industry safety program messaging, and a public health campaign. Initial survey data is being collected by Dr. Harker at frequently held WV Division of Forestry Best Management Practices (BMP) meetings.