Empowering Young Workers to Speak Up About Safety
Prince George, B.C. – A summer job can be rich in gaining experience and improving one’s financial situation, but it can also be a painful or tragic if injured on the job.
WorkSafe BC says between 2012 and 2016, more than 32 thousand young workers, aged 15 to 24 were injured on the job, nearly one every ten suffered a serious injury.
During that same time span, 18 young workers in B.C. died on the job.
WorkSafe BC has launched a special education campaign to encourage young workers to speak up on safety issues, and to ensure employers know the rules as well.
“We want to address reservations young workers may have about raising safety concerns with their bosses” says Trudi Rondou is the Senior Manager, Industry and Labour Services with WorkSafe BC .
A series of videos has been launched under the title “Listen to Your Gut ” to encourage young workers to speak up. (click here to view videos)
“What we found when we were doing the research for this campaign is we were surprised how much new, young workers actually know about health and safety” says Rondou “The challenge is, they don’t feel empowered to speak up.”
Speaking up about safety is something that has been encouraged for older workers as well, but often, workers fear repercussions if they bring a matter to the attention of an employer. Rondou says that’s why the campaign includes the stories from the employers perspective “We realized just doing a young worker campaign in isolation would be a gap, because what if they were having a conversation with an employer who didn’t know how to have their half of the conversation, so that’s why we launched the employer campaign at the same time.”
The employer focused videos, titled “What I Know Now” , can be accessed here.
Last year in the Interior region ( which includes Prince George) 1203 time lost claims were filed by young workers. 711 of those claims involved young males and 492 were young females.
Between 2012 and the end of 2016, the most often type of incident reported among young workers in the Interior was overexertion, followed by being struck by something.