Topic: Safety
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  • Safety at Work

Posted 9 July 2012, 4:03PM

Protecting Young Workers

By Ryan from Purchasing Nova Scotia

Common sense or best practices...whatever it may be, sometimes it escapes us. You are paid to do a job, not to lose mobility, or worse. Too often, safety in the work place isn't considered until it’s too late.

Making sure you, your co-workers and your workplace practice and promote workplace safety is crucial. As a cognitive human being, it is up to you to know what's right and wrong. If you think something is not right with what you are doing, and are fearful of something happening, take it up with your current supervisor. If they refuse to investigate or do anything about it, then it’s your responsibility to refuse to work. A job should only pay you in dollars, not body parts and lives.

This holds true for all of us, but especially today’s youth. With the summer season in full swing, there are many young workers out in the workforce right now.

Every year, hundreds of youth are injured or killed on the job, many of them within days of starting a new job. In 2006, 97 workers between 15 and 29 died in the workplace in Canada. (Youth Canada - Workplace Safety, www.youth.gc.ca)

What puts them more at risk? There is a popular misconception that young workers incur many injuries at work because of their risk-taking behaviour and sense of invincibility. Today, researchers believe young workers are more at risk because they lack the experience of their peers, they often work in environments with more hazards, and they frequently engage in more physical work than their older counterparts. Some may not have the training and orientation needed to work safely. (WorkSafeBC - Why Focus on Young Workers?, www.worksafebc.com)

I have read through some very strong messages from those who have been affected by serious on the job accidents that could have been prevented if the proper precautions had been put into place. Read one such story here. It will, at the very least, make you think twice about workplace safety and about putting your life and your family ahead of a “job.”

Are you a young worker, or the parent or employer of young workers? There are many resources out there to help educate and train. Start here, on the Workplace Safety page of the Youth Canada website. It has some basic information plus a list of national and provincial websites related to young worker safety.

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