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St. Helens High student video a finalist in contest

Teacher hopes for 1st or 2nd place among worker safety films


A worker safety video created by students at St. Helens High School is one of seven finalists in a statewide contest, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services announced Monday, March 10.

The nonprofit Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition selected 'Flashbacks' as one of the finalists in its “Speak up. Work safe.” contest.

True to its title, the central part of the 87-second video shows a series of theatrical flashbacks to choreographed accidents — including an improperly anchored ladder falling over with a person on the top, a person electrocuting himself by sticking a screwdriver into an electrical outlet and a person falling off a deck after being tripped up by an extension cord — caused by inattentiveness to worker safety, providing context for one character’s concern about another person using a wobbly work bench.

“So, what I’ve kind of realized over the years is that it makes more sense to be safe and think about what you’re doing, rather than trying to be fast and get the job done,” the first character explains near the end of the short video.

This is the third year in a row in which St. Helens High has entered a video in the competition and received finalist status, according to building construction teacher Joe Mauck.

“We started doing it just as a kind of way to get the kids more involved in the program,” said Mauck. Students have “really enjoyed” making the videos, he added.

“Flashbacks” and the other six finalist videos are available for anyone to view on YouTube. They can be found on the OregonSafetyHealth video channel.

The top three entries in the contest will receive cash prizes from $300 to $500. Winners will be announced after a special screening in Salem on April 26.

Mauck said that while video submissions from his class have received awards before, the top honors have thus far eluded them.

“We’re hoping for a first- or second-place [finish] this year,” Mauck said, adding that after watching the other finalist videos, he is “pretty sure we have a first or second shot.”

Five students in Mauck’s building construction class participated in this year’s video, the teacher said.

Note: This story originally appeared in the March 14 issue of the Spotlight. Due to an error, it was not published online at the time it appeared in print.