Best Safety Video

Silicosis video aims to prevent a deadly disease—one worker at a time

‘Silicosis: Deadly Dust’ educates workers on the causes and prevention of a fatal illness that strikes too many down after a lifetime of work.

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Silicosis is a deadly disease caused by breathing in the silica dust that’s created by sandblasting buildings and other construction work. It’s not curable, but it is preventable, which is the motivation behind the U.S. Department of Labor’s video, “Silicosis: Deadly Dust,” the first-place winner of the Best Safety Video category in PR Daily’s 2013 Video Awards.

The nine-minute video takes a documentary approach, using no actors, with only the narration scripted. It opens with haunting violin music, images of construction workers on the job, and the profile of a typical silicosis victim: a WWII veteran who developed the disease after a long career as a painter and sandblaster and died soon after his tragic diagnosis. Interviews with doctors, Labor Department officials, safety consultants, stone carvers, and other experts follow, spelling out the nature of the disease and also the safety measures that can be taken to prevent it.

This video was released in August 2013, timed to coincide with the release of a new OSHA rule designed to curb silicosis. It has received 3,620 total views and 19 likes on the Department of Labor’s YouTube page, and was also included in a DOL blog post that received more than 30 shares and 1,330 page views.

Given the cost of long-term medical care for a person suffering from silicosis, preventing just one case makes the video a success. It’s a sobering and effective job by these DOL communicators: Stan Hankin, director, audiovisual and video communication services; and Alex Duncan, Ashleigh Ingram, and Ken Pfeifer, video producers.

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