Handle With Care: Let's Protect Our Young Workers

Here comes summer, and with it an onslaught of eager young workers. As
thousands and thousands of youth start their summer jobs, the Canadian
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) wants to make sure they're informed
of their rights, aware of the hazards and risks and safe on the job.

The injury statistics on young workers are alarming. Workers between the ages
of 15 and 24 accounted for one in five of Ontario's lost-time and no-lost-time
claims between 2000 and 2004. During that same time period, 60 workers under
the age of 25 died of work-related traumatic injuries.

The Canadian WSIB has launched an extensive marketing campaign targeted at
young workers, their parents and employers. The campaign features radio ads,
web banners, and poster ads on public transit and at convenience stores. The
ads highlight the true stories of Trista, Randy and Leonard, three young
workers whose lives have been seriously affected by a workplace tragedy. The
WSIB's campaign is designed to make youth more aware of safety risks in the
workplace, and to reinforce that they have rights and responsibilities under
health and safety law.

While every employer has a legal responsibility to ensure a safe workplace,
young workers should know that they, too, have an important role to play in
ensuring their safety and the safety of their co-workers.

"Statistics indicate that young workers are more likely to be injured on the
first month of a job than at any other time," says WSIB President and Interim
Chair Jill Hutcheon. "It's vital that we help change this trend and, through
improved safety tips and knowledge, we are optimistic we can accomplish this."

Why are young workers getting injured on the job? Research from WorkSafe BC has
uncovered a few reasons: Young workers lack training and experience. They may
not fully understand, or be confident about, their rights as workers. They may
not be prepared for the workplace. Sometimes, young workers are asked to do
dangerous jobs and, feeling youthful and invincible, they face the challenge
head-on without asking questions. Young workers also tend to be more easily
distracted than older workers.

Workplaces can be dangerous and the risk of injury further increases when
employers fail to provide orientation, training, supervision and a positive
environment for young workers. Employers should think of themselves as mentor,
teacher and guide to every new employee, particularly young workers.

The WSIB's safety awareness campaign aims to promote a safer, healthier
workplace to protect those who are most vulnerable - today's youth who are
tomorrow's workforce.

Have a safe summer.

More info

AplusA-online.de - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety