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OSHA encourages young people to think about safety and health in the workplace. The Region I Providence Area Office is working with the Girl Scouts of Rhode Island, and the Region II New York Office is working with the Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA) on two Girl Scout patch projects to foster active awareness of occupational safety and health by Girl Scouts. Interest patches are a cornerstone of the Girl Scout program and serve as recognition that a scout has completed the requirements for or demonstrated an understanding of a concept such as occupational safety and health. Both Regions I and II have designed their own Occupational Safety and Heath (OSH) Patch.

Region I, which is focusing on the Senior Scouts (age 14-17), has scheduled a Youth Rules!: Youth Worker Safety and Health Day for March 2006. Safety and Health Day volunteers from Alliance Program participants in the Region include members of the American Red Cross, Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training/Workers Compensation, RIght Safe Coalition (in Rhode Island), American Society of Safety Engineers, and the Rhode Island Safety Association. The U.S. Department of Labor/Wage and Hour Division and the Rhode Island Women in Construction are also participating members. OSHA's Region I Providence Area Office is reaching out to the Narragansett (Rhode Island) Council/Boy Scouts and inviting them to visit the event.

Region I OSH Patch Region II OSH Patch
Figure 1: Region I OSH Patch Figure 2: Region II OSH Patch

For the Safety and Health Day event, the Region has designed ten interactive stations for the Girl Scouts to visit. These stations include Hazards Recognition Games, Wage and Hour Information Bingo, and other activities that feature women working in construction and disaster preparedness as well as addressing issues related to personal protective equipment and workers compensation. Says Marthe Kent, OSHA Regional Administrator for Region I Boston, Massachusetts, "The GSUSA/OSH Patch is an excellent new tool to ensure that young workers have the information they need to recognize the safety and health hazards they are likely to encounter on their first jobs." Region I expects about 100 girls to attend the Safety and Health Day and will give each girl who finishes the 10 stations a patch. (See Figure 1.) For more information about the Region I Girl Scout Patch Project, please contact Maryann Medeiros.

Region II's involvement in the OSH Patch Project involves reaching out to scouts of varying ages through age-appropriate learner-focused activities related to occupational safety and health. For example, Brownies (age 6 - 8) participate in a puppet show designed to educate them on the importance of workplace safety while Juniors (age 8 - 11), Cadettes (age 11-14) and Seniors (age 14 - 17) participate in interactive and practical learning activities that focus on using personal protective equipment, locating workplace-specific hazards, and learning about chemical reactions and environmental health. Goals of the project include developing a resource network that can educate and inform Girl Scouts and their peers about workplace safety and health, promoting safe work practices and establishing a link between the USGSA Web site and OSHA's Teen Workers Safety and Health Topics Page. In particular, this USGSA/OSH Interest Patch Project addresses issues of teen worker safety and health and tries to make Scouts aware of the importance of workplace safety and health as they embark upon teen-oriented jobs in industries such as food service, retail and construction. Figure 2 shows the Region II OSH Patch.

Region II is sponsoring a half-day workshop in March 2006 for the Brownie and Junior Scouts throughout the Westchester and Putnam counties of New York. Over 100 registered Brownies and Juniors will join in activities such as designing safety posters for display in the Westchester/Putnam, New York Girl Scout Council Office; participating in community-wide activities focusing on safe and healthy work practices and recognizing and eliminating workplace hazards; recognizing and learning about safety and health equipment, hazardous materials and toxic substances typically found in general industry; and exploring careers in occupational safety and health through meeting with women working for OSHA at a panel discussion with a question and answer session. Says OSHA Regional Administrator for Region II New York, New York, Patricia K. Clark, "This workshop will equip young women with the awareness to identify and address on-the-job hazards before they cause injury or illness." For more information about Region II's Girl Scout Patch Project, please contact Brenda Judson.