Holy construction industry, Hazardman - WorkSafe ACT is now targeting school children and young workers with a new superhero comic that promotes its safety messages.
Commissioner Mark McCabe said the idea began about three years prior to its launch on Monday, after the work safety body realised its core messages were not reaching younger audiences.
"It's all a bit boring to them, safety. Young guys straight out of school, they think they're bullet-proof, and most of the education material that's been around about safety has been pretty dry and boring, so it just wasn't hitting the mark," he said.
To engage young workers, and school students before they even joined the workforce, WorkSafe ACT created the comic superhero Hazardman, who combats his arch nemesis Dr Complacency to ensure worksites remain safe.
There are four comic strip posters following different safety storylines, as well as a handful of different characters complete with back stories, and an animation which Mr McCabe said will be played as a cinema advertisement before films targeting teens and young adults this summer, such as Thor and The Hunger Games.
Mr McCabe said the project, which cost about $50,000, engaged local marketing group Coordinate (whose artist Logan Knight drew up the comics) to design the campaign and local digital company Oxide to create a website. Work Safe Australia also came on board as a major sponsor, and could look to roll the project out across the nation. "All the reception has been quite phenomenal, really. Every time young people have been exposed to it … over the last six months or so, they've always been quite engaged with it," he said.
Impact Comics co-owner Mal Briggs said whether or not the project itself was well-received, it would likely be memorable - which would make it a success either way. The comic itself lacked finesse and was a little too wordy, but he said: "It's better than I thought it would be."
"Comics are a really, really simple way to get a lot of information across quickly," he said. "If it backfires it will be more of a success I think.
"There's no way they can be expecting people to take the actual presentation itself seriously. So the idea is you laugh at the poster, but in doing that you remember the detail of it. I think the cheesy badness of it will become a strength … If it was played straight too many people would write it off."
Mr McCabe said WorkSafe ACT would also run a competition for school students to design a new character and new scenarios for Hazardman, with prizes of iPods and $7500 safety grants to schools.
More information and the full series of Hazardman posters is available at hazardman.act.gov.au.