DOL announces winners of Worker Safety and Health App Challenge
New electronic tools to help inform young workers about hazards and rights
By Jesse Lawder
The U.S. Department of Labor announced the winners of its Worker Safety and Health App Challenge. Prizes totaling $30,000 are being awarded to four entrants who submitted tools that best demonstrate the importance of recognizing and preventing workplace safety and health hazards, and help young people understand their rights in the workplace. Submissions were designed for Internet browsers, smartphones, feature phones and social media platforms, or as native Windows or Macintosh applications.
"With so many outstanding submissions, it was difficult to choose the winners," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "The winning entries place new technologies in the hands of young workers and their employers, making safety and health resources even more accessible."
The panel of judges, including co-hosts of the popular Discovery Channel show "Myth Busters," Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, selected winners of the "Safety in the Workplace Innovator Award," the "Safety and Health Data Award," and the "Workers' Rights Award" from 20 finalists. A "People's Choice Award" was given to the entry that received the most public votes on the challenge website.
Safety in the Workplace Innovator AwardThis $15,000 grand prize went to Working Safely Is No Accident, a website developed by the University of Tennessee Construction Industry Research and Policy Center and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. The website is designed to offer workers, primarily those ages 13-24, conveniently accessible information on common workplace hazards and workers' rights to a safe workplace.
Safety and Health Data AwardThe United Steelworkers union won this $6,000 prize for its USW Chemical Safety application that allows users to search a Material Safety Data Sheets database for information on workplace exposure limits, health hazards, workplace controls, personal protective equipment, handling and storage, and emergency procedures related to hazardous substances in the workplace.
Workers' Rights AwardThis $6,000 prize went to the No Jack – Young Workers' Safety Campaign website developed by the Montana State Fund (the state's largest workers' compensation insurer). This edgy, youth-focused website expands the reach of MSF's safety and health message to a target audience of workers ages 16-24 by educating them and their employers about workers' rights to a safe and healthful workplace.
People's Choice AwardThis $3,000 prize went to Sidharth Garg for his Ergonomics iOS Application. This complete mobile workplace health solution offers ergonomic equipment setup advice, a variety of workplace-specific stretching exercises and programmable reminders to help time breaks and prevent musculoskeletal injuries.
The winning submissions can be viewed at www.dol.gov/dol/apps/2013AppWinners.htm. All of the finalists' submissions can be viewed at workersafetyhealth.challenge.gov. The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration also will post links to the winning submission on its website.
About the Author
Jesse Lawder is the Special Assistant at U.S. Department of Labor.