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Safety Apps Target Younger Workers

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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Four new award-winning apps and websites aim to enhance workplace health and safety, especially among younger workers.

The winners, announced Thursday (Jan. 10), drew a total of $30,000 in prizes in the Department of Labor's Safety and Health App Challenge. The goal was to develop tools that reach young workers on their phones, tablets, laptops and social media platforms.

Workplace Safety is No Accident

Using creative and edgy strategies, the award-winning apps and websites seek to educate younger workers.

The winning entrants, chosen from 20 finalists, offer a forward-thinking variety of engaging and easy tools and games to help younger workers learn about safety and access critical safety information. The winners are:

Working Safely Is No Accident

The $15,000 grand-prize winner of the Safety in the Workplace Innovator Award, this website is designed for workers ages 13-24.

Working Safely is No Accident

A new website takes both serious and light approaches to wise up younger workers to the dangers of the job.

Developed by the University of Tennessee Construction Industry Research and Policy Center and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, the site offers a game, tips, links and other conveniently accessible information on common workplace hazards and workers’ rights to a safe workplace.

The game is a safety-awareness-raising exercise that allows the users to match their odds of "good luck events," like dating a supermodel, to "bad luck events," like dying in a fall. (The odds, by the way, heavily favor the latter.)

USW Chemical Safety Application

The United Steelworkers union won the $6,000 Safety and Health Data Award for its USW Chemical Safety application, which offers an easy and accessible chemical safety reference for workers.

USW Chemical Safety App
United Steelworkers

Users can obtain a variety of information by searching on a chemical name or DOT, CAS or RTK Substance number.

Users can search the New Jersey Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) database by chemical name, DOT number, CAS number, or RTK Substance number to view the entire fact sheet. This includes information on workplace exposure limits, health hazards, workplace controls, personal protective equipment, handling and storage, and emergency information.

Users can also flip through an electronic version of the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. A locator feature has contact information for the nearest United Steelworkers district office and OSHA district office. The app is available free through the iTunes Store.

No JackYoung Workers' Safety Campaign

An enhancement of the No Jack “Don’t Be a Jackass” young workers’ campaign unveiled in 2008 by the Montana State Fund, this award-winning site includes videos, a "jackass/smartass" safety quiz, links to YouTube videos featuring edgy safety messages, and the No Jack Facebook page.

This site targets workers ages 16-24 and their employers. One goal is to help employers communicate with young workers and establish a safety culture.

No Jack
No Jack

"No Jack" aims to reach young workers, and to help employers do so.

The site won $6,000 and the Workers' Rights Award in the DOL competition.

Ergonomics iOS Application

This winner of the $3,000 People's Choice Award, also available free through the iTunes Store, went to Sidharth Garg. The award was given to the entry that received the most public votes on the challenge website.

Ergonomic iOS App
Sidharth Garg

Its inventor calls Ergonomic iOS a "complete mobile workplace health solution." The app is free.

A "complete mobile workplace health solution," it offers ergonomic equipment setup advice, a variety of workplace-specific stretching exercises, and programmable reminders to help time breaks and prevent musculoskeletal injuries.

About the Competition

Judges for the DOL App Challenge included Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, co-hosts of the popular Discovery Channel show Myth Busters.

“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.”

All of the winning submissions may be viewed here.

All of the finalists’ submissions may be viewed here.


Tagged categories: Apps; Awards and honors; Health and safety; OSHA; Worker training; Workers

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