Winners of the 2020 statewide “Safe Jobs for Youth” Poster Contest are each taking home cash prizes funded by Commonwealth Corporation for their creative posters that highlight the importance of workplace safety and health for teens.
Betsy O’Reilly, 16, of Mashpee, won first place and $500, and her poster will be printed and distributed to schools and other youth organizations throughout the state. Katherine Benninger, 17, of Newton, won second place and $300, and Abigail Johnson, 18, of Templeton, won third place place and $100.
Sponsored by the Massachusetts Youth Employment and Safety Team (YES Team) and the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH), the contest invites Massachusetts teens ages 14 to 19 to apply their knowledge about workplace safety and health. This year, 180 posters were submitted.
Receiving honorable mentions were Jezebel Abreu, 16, of Lawrence; Noel Alvero, 16, of Quincy; Corinna Dolan, 15, of Ayer; Hailey Garvey, 15, of North Chelmsford; Katelyn Haley, 18, of Templeton; Kassidy Letton, 17, of North Dartmouth; and Renea Smart, 15, of Quincy.
The Poster Contest has been a way of asking teens to help promote safer work for themselves and their peers. Jobs provide youth with opportunities to gain experience, explore different careers, and make some money. Unfortunately, many teens are injured on the job. In fact, teens have nearly double the rate of work-related injuries than adults.
The Young Workers Injury Surveillance and Prevention Project at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has been collecting data since 1993 to better understand where and how teens are being injured so that the state can work with partners to prevent future injuries.
The project has learned from talking with teens about workplace health and safety that many are not receiving adequate health and safety training from their employers; many teens are working without adequate supervision; and many teens expect to have permanent effects from these injuries that occur at work.
The Massachusetts YES Team includes Commonwealth Corporation; the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General; Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; Massachusetts
Department of Industrial Accidents; Massachusetts Department of Public Health; Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards; U.S. Department of Labor, including its Wage and Hour Division; and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. MassCOSH is a nonprofit organization that promotes workplace safety through education and policy development and advocacy.