Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of MythBusters fame recently took time out from busting myths, urban legends, and general nonsense and lent their unique expertise to the US Department of Labor (DoL) and its watchdog arm, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as part of the panel of judges to select the top apps that best show the importance of a safe and healthful workplace. Launched late last year, the nationwide contest, Workplace Safety and Health Challenge, challenged developers to create software tools such as websites and apps for the Internet, smartphones, and desktop computers that would educate young workers. The winning entries, chosen from 20 finalists, were announced by the DoL and OSHA this January. A total of $30,000 in prizes were divvied up among the winners of the Safety in the Workplace Innovator Award, the Safety and Health Data Award, the Workers’ Rights Award, and the People’s Choice Award.
Dr. David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, excited by the many outstanding entries, saying that made it extra difficult for the judges to select the winners. He pointed out that the winning apps not only provide young workers and their employers with new technologies to be safer and healthier in the workplace, but also make them better informed of their rights.
Working Safely Is No Accident, an information website designed by the University of Tennessee Construction Industry Research and Policy Center and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, ran away with the Safety in the Workplace Innovator Award, the grand prize worth $15,000.
The USW Chemical Safety app, developed by the United Steelworkers union, won the $6,000 Safety and Health Data Award. The app enables workers to search and mine a Material Safety Data Sheets database for information on health hazards, workplace exposure limits, personal protective equipment, and other data relevant to work site safety and health.
The No Jack – Young Workers’ Safety Campaign website bagged the Workers’ Rights Award and $6,000 prize. The website, developed by the Montana State Fund, a top workers’ compensation insurance company, employed a youth-oriented approach to drive home its health-and-safety message on the worker’s rights to a safe work environment to young workers.
The Ergonomics iOS app by developer Sidharth Garg won People’s Choice Award, a special prize worth $3,000 based on the most votes received on the contest website. The app serves up advice on and suggestions for workplace-centric stretching exercises, ergonomic equipment setup, and time breaks to prevent musculoskeletal injuries.
DoL has posted the winning entries on its website, as well as all the finalists at http://workersafetyhealth.challengepost.com/. The agency said that links to the winning entry will also be available on the OSHA site.