It was gruesome, but effective.

That is the best description of a poster made by Lauren Christen- sen, a fifth-grader at Salt Lake School District's Bennion Elementary School, who took first place in the State Industrial Commission's Take Safety Seriously art contest.The girl's winning poster showed a board and a saw with a severed thumb lying to the side. The caption said, "Don't be Dumb. Save Your Thumb."

For her efforts, Lauren will be in the State Capitol Thursday at 1:45 p.m. when Gov. Mike Leavitt signs a proclamation naming May as Workplace Safety Month. She'll receive a plaque at a May 19 luncheon in Little America Hotel when other safety awards will be presented.

In addition, her classroom will receive $100, and her winning poster will be printed on T-shirts that will be given to each fifth grader at Bennion and Newman elementary schools.

Runners-up were Jeremy Taubman, a Bennion fifth grader, and Heidi Steed, a Newman fifth grader.

R. Lee Ellertson, commission chairman, said the contest is part of a series of activities designed to reduce the number of workplace accidents and increase the number of safety programs in Utah. "Workplace accidents have a profound effect on families and quality of life, and we want everyone in the family to stay safe," said Ellertson in explaining the reason for the poster contest.

During May, the commission will hold several safety seminars to stress safety and tell people what the commission offers to help them establish safety programs.

The first will be a luncheon Monday in St. George with the Associated General Contractors; followed by a May 14 breakfast in Little America Hotel with the Utah Manufacturers Association; a 7:30 a.m. breakfast May 15 in the Alta Club with the Utah Food Industry Association; a noon luncheon May 22 in the State Fairpark with AGC; a 6 a.m. breakfast on May 27 in the State Fairpark with the Utah Roofers Association; and a noon luncheon on May 29 with the Utah Building and Trades Council at 2261 S. Redwood Road.

Ellertson said the AFL-CIO will hold a safety seminar on July 11 at a time and location to be announced later.

Several months ago, the Legislature told the commission to reduce workplace injuries because the number reached more than 80,000 in 1996. It authorized the commission to take a small percentage of workers compensation insurance premiums that formerly went into the general fund and spend it on media and advertising programs, grants to organizations; and hiring more consultants to help create safety programs for businesses.

Ellertson said $750,000 has been divided equally for the three programs. The money for the poster contest came from the media and advertising portion.