In an effort to educate young workers, the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently held a contest to build a mobile app. Four winners were awarded prizes between $3,000 and $15,000.
A Need Recognized
Workers who are 24 years old or younger make up approximately 15 percent of the U.S. workforce. However, the rate of occupational injuries requiring medical attention is double for this young group compared to workers over 25. OSHA recognized the need for young workers to better understand workplace hazards and their individual rights. Contest submissions were required to use real-world scenarios to inform young people about workplace health and safety. In addition, contestants were asked to incorporate best management practices and personal protection equipment (PPE).
While the app could be used by a worker of any age, designers were encouraged to create with the young demographic in mind, namely workers between 13 and 24. Submissions included features like interactive tools, games and social network integration. Apps were specifically designed to be used with smartphones and other mobile devices.
Submissions were graded based on mission (40 percent), creativity (30 percent), and design and ease of use (30 percent). The four winners were:
- Grand Prize: University of Tennessee Construction Industry Research and Policy Center submitted an app with an interactive game that estimates the relative probabilities of common and uncommon events on a worksite.
- Workers' Rights Award: Montana State Fund created a website that features video, a safety quiz and social media interaction including Facebook and Youtube.
- Safety and Health Data Award: USW Chemical Safety created an app that caters to iPhone users. The app gives access to mobile forms of many resources, including the NIOSH pocket guide to chemical hazards.
- People's Choice Award: Ergonomics created a health solution that informs workers about ergonomic equipment, workplace exercises and programmable reminders.
Click here to view all the submissions.