OSHA Wants You to “Picture It”; Offers Photos of Safe Workplaces

OSHA Wants You to “Picture It”; Offers Photos of Safe Workplaces

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, OSHA held the Picture It!: Safe Workplaces for Everyone photo contest, which the agency hoped would raise public awareness of occupational safety and health. The winners were announced Dec. 1.

The contest challenged anyone with a passion for photography to capture an image of workplace safety and health and share it with OSHA. At the same time, OSHA held a second contest challenging OSHA staff to submit their images of workplace safety and health. The six winning photographs and seven honorable mentions can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/osha40/photo-winners.html.

Aaron Sussell, of Cincinnati, was selected from more than 300 submissions as the first-place winner of the public contest for his compelling photograph of workers involved in last summer’s cleanup of the Gulf Oil Spill.

“This is a great captured moment that tells the story of workplace safety,” said photo contest judge Kathleen Klech, who’s the photography director for Condé Nast Traveler magazine.

“I am thrilled by the way these photographers have so creatively captured the challenges of workplace safety and health,” said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, expressing his enthusiasm for the overwhelming response to the contest and the quality of the submissions. “Each winning photograph tells its own powerful story of the contribution of workers to our great country’s success, and America, and of the vital importance of protecting their health and safety. I am deeply grateful to everyone who contributed their time and talent to this contest.”

Second-place winner Roberto Carlos Vergara, of Charlotte, N.C., was lauded for the otherworldly display of light and shadow in his photograph. Set high above the clouds, the photograph emphasizes the importance of the fall protection equipment that each worker in the frame wears. Roberto Rodriguez of Mesquite, Tex., placed third for his image of a worker safely operating a machine in the midst of a visually active factory floor.

The winner of the OSHA staff contest is Elena Finizio, who works in OSHA’s Braintree, Mass., area office. Finizio’s photograph of the eerie glow of molten metal as workers pour a casting was praised for its “visual drama” by photojournalist and contest judge Earl Dotter. Steve Baranowski, also of OSHA’s Braintree office, was awarded second place in the internal contest for his vivid portrayal of an OSHA compliance officer at work. Frank Wenzel of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries placed third for his dizzying image of wind turbine construction.

Several honorable mentions also were awarded to photographers whose work will be featured on the contest Web page. The honorable mentions from the public contest are Koralie Hill of Oakland, Calif.; Roy Berke of Sacramento, Calif.; Paul Navarette of Riverside, Calif.; Wally Reardon of Pulaski, N.Y.; and Jorge Intriago of Columbia, S.C. The honorable mentions from the OSHA contest are Keith Tsubata of the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and McClelland Davis of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries from the OSHA staff.

The winners will receive framed certificates from Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis (first prize) and Dr. Michaels (second and third prizes). All six winning photographs will be framed and hung in the Department of Labor’s headquarters at the Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C., where they will serve as daily reminders of the real-life impacts of OSHA's mission.

Winners were selected by an expert panel of judges that included Dotter; Carl Fillichio, the Department of Labor’s senior advisor for communications and public affairs; Klech; and Shawn Moore, the chief photographer for the Department of Labor.

Many of the remaining contest submissions can be viewed on the Department of Labor’s Flickr photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usdol/sets/72157627278407408/.

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