Workplace Safety (or how to make Grade 9’s squirm and cover their eyes)
Since some students are old enough to start working when they are in Grade 9, we are learning about workplace safety so we can keep ourselves safe and have something to put on our otherwise very blank resume.
In B.C. there are a lot of injuries that happen with young workers. 34 workers are injured every workday, and every hour a young worker is injured. Young workers are at the highest risk of injury because they are young, they may not have enough training or experience, and they are more likely to take a risk to prove themselves to their older co-workers.
The list of things that put a worker at increased risk for injury on the job pretty much describes most teenagers in their first job. The risk factors for injuries at work are lack of experience, willing to take risks, keen to prove themselves, unaware of risks on the job, not asking questions, lack of training, and not being aware of the rights and responsibilities of work and training.
We also learned about our rights as a worker. We have the right to training, which is being taught to do the job properly. We have the right to work safely and have safe work assigned for us to do. We have the right to refuse unsafe work. There are more rights that we reviewed but I felt these rights were the foundation of not getting injured on the job. Especially learning how to say no to unsafe work. It was emphasized that if we did not feel competent to do the work we were asked to do, that we should ask for more training or to be re-trained.
So to help young workers remember to use their PPE (personal protective equipment), I have made a short public service video.
On a side note, another thing I learned is that my PLP class probably shouldn’t be allowed to watch graphic videos anymore. You can guess why.
But seriously, these things can happen and young workers are the most at risk. I saw this first hand when people down the street were having their house re-roofed. There were 4 or 5 guys on the crew and two of them looked pretty young, like just out of high school. They were stripping the shingles off of the roof two stories up and none of the workers were wearing safety harnesses that secured them to the roof if they fell. The two youngest workers were carrying the heaviest loads of shingles and were leaning so far over to throw them into the bin on the ground that they were almost falling in themselves. After my parents saw what was happening, they called Work Safe BC and an inspector visited the site. The company had all of the proper equipment with them, they just hadn’t bothered to set the harnesses up. This is a perfect example of why Work Safe BC is so important as it demonstrates how easy it is for a worker to be placed in an unsafe situation.