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Campaign aimed at cutting down on injuries among young workersPosted on March 22

Campaign aimed at cutting down on injuries among young workersPosted on March 22

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HELENA - The Montana State Fund is rolling out an ad campaign this week aimed at reducing the number of on-the-job injuries among young workers.

Modeled after ads for the Apple iPod digital music player, the campaign reminds young workers that "iCrash," "iSlip," "iCut" and "iBurn" - "Unless I'm always thinking about workplace safety."

The ads will appear across the state in high school and college newspapers, on billboards and in movie theaters.

State Fund President Laurence Hubbard said young workers, those who are 16 to 24 years old, suffer a disproportionate percentage of workplace injuries.

"A quarter of our claims that cost money come from 15 percent of the state's labor force," he said. "When you're younger, there's more of a sense of invincibility."

According to State Fund statistics, nearly 1,000 Montanans age 24 or younger are injured on the job each year. Most of the young people who are injured on the job are laborers, carpenters, farm workers and restaurant cooks. Young workers are less likely than older workers to be injured by falling, but more likely to be injured by the tools they use or to be hit by moving objects.

State Fund spokesman Matthew Cohn said the campaign, which runs through mid-June, is aimed at getting people thinking about workplace safety early in their careers.

"A workplace injury can last a lifetime," he said. "We started thinking about this based on why we exist, and we said, 'What can we do to try to influence behavior so it will make a difference?'"

The ads direct people to a Web site that offers information on workplace safety, workers' rights and tips for employers. Workers also can register to win one of six Apple iPods.

"Part of the idea with the Web site is to communicate with younger workers in a language they understand so when they take a new job, they know what to look and ask for," Hubbard said.

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