Award-winning workplace safety video by N.B. student inspired by grandfather’s accident

New Brunswick teen wins national contest for workplace safety video inspired by grandfather’s own accident
WATCH ABOVE: A Riverview, N.B. student has won a national contest for a workplace safety he produced that was inspired by his grandfather's own accident that occurred in his youth.

A workplace safety video produced by a Riverview, N.B. student that was inspired by his own grandfather’s accident has won a national prize.

Many years ago, Zach MacMillan-Kenny’s grandfather Peter Grant was injured in a workplace accident when a forklift crushed his legs.

Now, MacMillan-Kenny is hoping the award-winning video’s message — “always use safety procedures” — will help prevent future accidents.

The video by MacMillan-Kenny, a student at Riverview High School, features his grandfather in his home performing different tasks that for most people might take little effort — watching TV, pouring a glass of water and chopping peppers, for example — but shows Grant having difficulty with each.

As the video plays, it cuts between Grant performing the tasks and him as a youth at work, played by MacMillan-Kenny, performing his work duties which culminate in him being involved in an accident before cutting back to Grant showing his injury — blindness in one eye.

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“It was sort of a personal thing for me to make that video and have my grandfather act in it, because it happened to him,” MacMillan-Kenny said.

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As MacMillan-Kenny was unable to use a forklift in the video, he changed the accident into a chemical spill which leaves Grant blind. The aim, however, was the same — to show how the injury affected Grant’s life as he grew to become a senior struggling with a disability.

READ MORE: Worksafe NB teaches students importance of farming equipment safety

The end result was a two-minute video which took first place in the provincial Focus on Safety Youth Video Contest. The clip was then submitted to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety national competition, where it again took top prize.

“Zach’s submission of The Eye was a standout because of its very effective storytelling,” said the contest’s jury in a news release. “He demonstrated that the decisions we make about our own safety practices can impact us for the rest of our lives … We can all picture ourselves taking the same shortcut as the character did.”

WATCH: A Riverview High School student has taken top prize in the national Focus on Safety Youth Video Contest. The video called “The Eye” was inspired by the student’s grandfather who was injured on the job in his youth. Shelley Steeves reports.

New Brunswick high School student wins national prize for safety video
New Brunswick high School student wins national prize for safety video

Jessica MacDonald, a coordinator with WorkSafe NB, said the goal of the contest is to teach youth about workplace safety in a fun and engaging way.

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“We were really excited because he is actually the first student in New Brunswick to win at the national level,” she said.

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MacDonald said it’s important to openly discuss workplace safety early because statistics show that in the province, 1,000 youth aged 15 to 24 are injured in the workplace every year.

READ MORE: New Brunswick business owners concerned over increased WorkSafeNB premiums

MacMillan-Kenny will receive $3,000 in scholarships for winning the contest. With the Grade 12 student set to graduate this year, he told Global News he’ll use the money to study marine biology, which he hopes to combine with his passion for film.

“Sort of like [a] Jacques Cousteau type of deal,” he quipped.