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Zombie computer game teaches teens about workplace safety (3/3)

March 3, 2011
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BodgeDab industries. A mysterious corporation run by evil boss Damballa Bokor. A zombie virus that spreads like…well, a virus.

These are a few of the elements in “Don’t be a Zombie at Work,” an interactive online computer game at the center of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) new electronic tool kit -- “Target Teen Work Safety” -- aimed at keeping teens safe in the workplace.

“The earlier we can reach workers, especially young workers just entering the workforce, on what work safety is and how they can stay safe on the job, the closer we can get to our target of zero workplace fatalities,” said ASSE President-Elect and PR Committee Chair Terrie Norris, ARM, CSP.

The statistics on teen workplace injuries and fatalities are sobering: 117 teens under the age of 18 died from work-related injuries in 2007 and another 77,000 teen workers were hurt badly enough to end up in hospital emergency rooms. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) says that 230,000 tens a year suffer from work-related injuries, most of them occurring in the retail or service industries.

According to the ASSE, slippery floors, hot cooking equipment, heavy lifting, loud noises and working alone are some of the dangers teens face as they experience a first job or seasonal employment. If teens are not made aware of the risks and properly trained and protected, these dangers can lead to serious injuries or fatalities.

The “Target Teen Work Safety” tool kit is available at www.asse.org/teensafety. It provides key fact sheets, brochures, research articles, quizzes and presentation aids that can be downloaded and printed and used for presentations at high schools or community events, Girl Scout meetings, boys and girls clubs and more.

The computer game “Don’t be a Zombie at Work” is at: www.dontbeazombieatwork.org. The zombie game takes players through a variety of workplaces and risks – good and bad — to illustrate how to work safe; and, how occupational safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professionals help prevent injuries and illnesses. The ASSE zombie game is free and features the imaginary evil “BodgeDab” industries. In the game, players help their co-workers avoid becoming “zombies” by finding tools and using information from the game’s SH&E professionals to stay safe on the job. The game revolves around a mysterious corporation that has just moved into a large city, led by reputed evil boss Damballa Bokor, and opening businesses all over town. At the same time, the people working at these establishments are becoming “unnatural” — zombie like. And the “virus” is quickly spreading among all workers. The player’s job is to move through these establishments – a restaurant (Club BodgeDab), a warehouse and an office to save the workers by undoing the workplace hazards.

The project was spearheaded by the ASSE PR Committee.

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