NCBA Hackcess to Justice Project Submission

Project: Occupational Health and Safety Violation Reporting App

Inspiration

Migrant and seasonal farmworkers in North Carolina are among the most vulnerable members of the North Carolina labor force: They work long hours in extreme weather conditions, are subject to injuries from dangerous farm equipment and pesticide exposure, live in isolated labor camps and often lack English skills or basic knowledge about their employers or the communities where they are temporarily working. All of these factors make it difficult for workers to assert their rights when faced with unsafe and unlawful working conditions. We depend on these workers to bring food to our dinner tables, yet they lack meaningful access to advocates and government agencies that enforce basic health and safety laws.

What it does

A cell phone application that allows workers (including those that do not speak English) to submit OSHA complaints to the Legal Aid of N.C. would allow workers to report violations accurately and promptly. To promote use by workers with low literacy skills, the app would allow the worker to submit a complaint in one several ways: they could submit an email, record a voice message and submit it by email, or directly dial the agency’s complaint hotline. The app would contain a basic primer on health and safety laws for migrant and seasonal farmworkers, and would contain information about the evidence that they can submit to substantiate their complaint. Because farmworkers travel frequently and often do not know the precise location where they are working, the app would allow the worker to capture the GPS coordinates of the field or labor camp to submit along with the complaint. It would also encourage the worker to take photos or recordings of the suspected violation to submit with the complaint.

This would be particularly helpful because most low wage workers often cannot access the agency in the evening when they are not working, do not know the name of their employer or the street or field location of their worksite, and are using cell phones in increasing numbers. It should be designed for workers with low literacy using many images. It should also allow the worker to inform the agency whether they want to submit a confidential complaint where their name would not be shared with the employer.

How I built it

The product owner and I met to outline a product analysis, workflow, user stories, UX, and mock up the UI on index cards.

I then built the prototype using Bootstrap. The "Report a Safety Violation" form uses the HTML5 geolocation API.

Links

The links below are to (1) an interactive prototype (with one happy path for learning about worker safety issues and filing a complaint) and (2) the product analysis.

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