The vision of "Small Business Safety Officer" is to provide a cost-savings portal for small businesses to integrate pollution prevention, cheaper and safer process alternatives and worker health and safety compliance into their business process. The specific goal of the Phase I program was to develop and evaluate a prototype containing a web-based expert-assisted system to generate an Intranet site to perform the following functions: determine applicable OSHA regulations; generate chemical hygiene and other safety plans; formulate policies such as chemical purchase, storage and disposal; perform medical recordkeeping; develop an accident and event reporting archive; create and operate a safety committee and emergency response team; provide ergonomics advice; generate forms; and host several advisor capabilities to provide safer and cheaper process alternatives. The prototype was to also create a general access safety web page to provide all employees with important safety information. A complete prototype of Small Business Safety Officer has been developed. The fundamental architecture is modeled after commercially-available tax preparation software that employs an interview process to determine the applicable IRS regulations and specific wizards to help prepare the forms. The design here is also an extensive interview to determine the applicable OSHA regulations with wizards to help prepare compliance documentation such as a Chemical Hygiene Plan. However, Small Business Safety Officer goes well beyond document preparation. The principal products generated by Small Business Safety Officer are safety and health websites populated with documents, links and tools to allow companies to fully implement and integrate worker safety and health into their overall business processes. The Phase I Small Business Safety Officer prototype contains a complete end-to-end, fully populated architecture featuring the Initial Interview, a sample generated Public (Employee) Website, and a sample generated Administrative Website. The capabilities and tools incorporated in the Phase I prototype of Small Business Safety Officer greatly exceed what was promised in the proposal. This occurred in response to our on-site tests and evaluations with two New Hampshire businesses, presentation of the prototype to more than 30 New England businesses and on-line review of the prototype by thirteen companies. These interactions, which we expanded in response to the Summary Reviews, provided us with ideas and essential capabilities we believe will help make Small Business Safety Officer a successful commercial product. Some of these capabilities include additional advisor tools such as P20ASys, an alternative chemical process selection tool based on safety and health issues, Greenlist, an information resource tool developed by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute, and P2Finance, an economics/process alternative package developed by the EP A. Some features have been directly suggested by our on-site collaborators such as a means to interface to their own proprietary databases and extract/forward key data fields, onOline forms for toxicity data and tools to help find toxicity data across the Web. Our interactions with the on-site collaborations and broad-based review of the product have been highly successful and we will continue these efforts in Phase IT to include complete end-to-end installation and site testing at multiple firms. Our Phase I product, however, has Page 7 Small Business Safety Officer, NIOSH Phase I SBIR Final Report already proven highly successful as one of our site testers, Kluber Lubrication in Londonderry NH, has asked for us to add their logo and Corporate color scheme to the Employee and Administrative sites as they currently exist and make them available to their employees through a direct Internet connection to our server. Through our Phase I R&D effort, we have developed several innovations for Small Business Safety Officer to ensure that companies will not only use it initially but they will be highly motivated to use it regularly and fully integrate it into their overall business process. First, we have developed an easy-to-use interview process for initial implementation. Second, we have incorporated several process alternative and cost savings advisors that will facilitate integration of worker safety and health practices into a company's overall business processes. Third, we are incorporating ergonomics into the product to provide a means of information dissemination on this critical topic. Fourth, the system is being designed to allow companies to custom design the final tools to address their specialized needs. Fifth, we are developing the tools to be consistent with a new communication model called Personalized Web Portals that allows users to format and customize information to facilitate understanding. And, finally, frequent use of the tools is being ensured by providing connection to extensive databases with automated extraction and presentation of information of relevance to all users defined by their own preferences.
Mission Research Corporation, One Tara Blvd., Suite 302, Nashua, New Hampshire 03062, USA