Massachusetts teens average over 700 work-related emergency room visits each year. Nationally, young workers sustain non-fatal injuries at almost twice the rate of older workers per hour, which can be partially explained because young workers are often provided insufficient health and safety training.
One program in Massachusetts aimed at curbing this trend is the Safe Jobs for Youth Poster Contest. The contest engages young people by encouraging them to learn about workplace safety in order to incorporate it into a poster. The winning posters then serve to raise awareness of other young workers about workplace safety in a way that is meaningful to them. This year 120 teens participated in the contest, and 36 youth served as judges.
16-year-old Liz Otero, (pictured left), of Worcester won first place, taking home a cash prize of $500. Second place went to Nicholas Horvath of Norfolk and third place to Evelyne Lourie of Newburyport, who took home prizes of $300 and $100 respectively. Otero’s work will be displayed by the MBTA and Worcester Regional Transit Authority.
“I am really excited about winning the poster contest,” said Otero. “As a student in a technical high school, safety is our number one priority. Safety comes first.”
The contest was sponsored by The Massachusetts Youth Employment Safety (YES) Team comprised of Massachusetts Departments of Public Health, Education, Labor Standards, and Industrial Accidents, the Office of the Attorney General, Mass COSH, Commonwealth Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Labor.
“I want to thank all the teenagers who participated in this annual contest,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rachel Kaprielian. “While our child labor laws help protect teens from dangerous work, health and safety education is critically important in preventing working teens from being injured. Working together with community, labor and government partners— this kind of outreach will help young people stay safe as they enter the workforce.”
The YES Team is an interagency working group that brings together state, federal, and non-profit agencies to coordinate efforts to protect and promote the health and safety of young workers in Massachusetts. Since 2003, the YES Team has provided a mechanism through which multiple agencies with overlapping goals related to youth employment can join forces to support safer jobs for teens. To learn more about the YES Team or workplace safety click here.
BRRRR! Don’t Let the Cold Harm Your Workers posted on Jan 5
Seasonably cold winter weather is here, providing a good opportunity to highlight ways to protect workers in cold environments. Working in cold conditions can increase the likelihood of workplace injuries due to reduced dexterity, impaired thought and a rush to get work done in order …Continue Reading BRRRR! Don’t Let the Cold Harm Your Workers
MA Minimum Wage is $9.00/hour January 1, 2015 posted on Dec 15
Massachusetts enacted the first state minimum wage law over 100 years ago on June 4, 1912. Thanks to the efforts of many committed individuals, businesses, and elected leaders at every level including the Governor, we have reason to celebrate again the Commonwealth’s lead when it comes to fair treatment of workers. Massachusetts now has the highest enacted state minimum wage set for $11.00 on January 1, 2017.
U.S. Renews Agreement to Help MA Combat Underground Economy posted on Nov 28
US Labor Secretary Tom Perez has renewed a three year agreement to help Massachusetts recover unpaid wages, back taxes unemployment insurance premiums, fines and penalties from employers who engage in fraudulent labor practices like misclassifying workers. The initiative commits the Department of Labor and the IRS to work with the Massachusetts Joint Task Force on the Underground Economy (JTF) which, since its inception, has collected nearly $56 million from unscrupulous businesses.