Labor Dept. Issues Workplace Safety Challenge

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the Workplace Safety and Health Challenge through which it is inviting businesses to design a tool that helps young people recognize and prevent occupational hazards and to understand their rights in the workplace. Submissions may be designed for Internet browsers, smartphones, feature phones and social media platforms, or as native Windows or Macintosh applications. The deadline is Nov. 30.

"Successful proposals could take many different forms, such as interactive and informative games, a smartphone app, social or professional networks, or data visualization," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.
Each submission should meet both of the following objectives:

• Demonstrate the importance of knowing about workplace safety and health hazards:

Components should be included that inform young workers about hazards in the workplace and the serious consequences of workplace injuries. Information on safety and health from the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, state workers' compensation programs and/or other government sources must be incorporated. Additional suggested features include those that bring awareness to best management practices, such as engineering controls and personal protection equipment.

• Help workers understand their rights in the workplace:

Components should help young workers understand their rights in the workplace and their employers' responsibility to ensure their health and safety on the job. The content and type of application must be age-appropriate, and should also feature mechanisms for users to interact or share with each other.

The "Safety in the Workplace Innovator Award" comes with a $15,000 prize, and the "Safety and Health Data Award" and the "Workers' Rights Award" each offer a $6,000 prize. There is also a "People's Choice Award" that has a $3,000 prize for the developer of the app that receives the most public votes on the challenge website.

The panel of judges includes Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the co-hosts of the Discovery Channel show "Myth Busters," Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman.

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