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October 27, 2017 4:22 pm

Empowering Young Workers to Speak Up About Safety

Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 5:57 AM

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.


It’s all about training and supervision.

Kids won’t speak up as a new employee because they want to keep their jump

WorksafeBC should include psychological safety in their educational campaign. Young workers are often victimized by workplace abuse and bullying by both employers and full time staff members. I’ve seen summer students being treated like slaves, given the worst and the highest risk jobs to do.

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