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JohnJacob Posted by John Jacob, a health communications writer and editor at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.


Here's the winning entry for the 2011 Safe Jobs For Youth poster contest. Congrats to artist Jane Adams, age 16, Hingham High School!


Every year, around 800 young people in Massachusetts end up having to go to the emergency room because they’re injured on the job. And it’s estimated that another 2400 young workers each year are hurt at work but don’t seek medical treatment.

That’s the startling news from a new report produced by the DPH Teens at Work project. It’s an especially timely reminder that workplace safety is an ongoing concern as teens begin working seasonal jobs over the summer.

As an additional reminder, for the 4th year in a row Governor Patrick has proclaimed May 2011 to be Young Worker Safety Month, a time to help raise awareness about hazards teens can face on the job, and ways they can be protected through adequate safety training, employer supervision, and knowledge of their workplace rights. (Special thanks to the MassCOSH Teens Lead @ Work Peer Leaders — a youth-led program that helps create safer workplaces for teens through peer-to-peer education and advocacy – for sending their request to the Governor!)

In response, DPH has been partnering with a wide variety of state and local organizations to engage young people themselves in advocating for safer workplace environments for everyone. These partners include the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH), the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the interagency Massachusetts Youth Employment and Safety Team (YES Team).

The partnership recently announced the winners of a “Safe Jobs for Youth” poster contest, which asked youth participants to design eye-catching graphic messages that promote the importance of youth worker safety. The winning entries were celebrated at a ceremony held during MassCOSH’s annual LEAPS Academy (Leadership Education and Action to Promote Safety), with DPH Commissioner John Auerbach on April 21.

The winning poster has been distributed to hundreds of schools, youth-serving organizations, and employers across the state. For more information on youth worker safety, please visit For copies of the winning poster, please e-mail:

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health communication writer and editor

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