We’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating—when it comes to injuries, young workers are one of the most vulnerable groups in the workplace. In recognition of this reality, the Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA) and the Ontario Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) have released a brochure of seven things all young workers should know.
7 Safety Tips for Young Workers
1. There are hazards in every workplace and young and inexperienced workers are especially at risk. Young workers under 25 years of age are far more likely to be hurt on the job. In 2004 alone, seven young workers were killed on the job and 209 young workers lost time from work because they lost a body part when it was torn or cut off in a workplace accident.
2. You need to be able to identify the hazards in your workplace. Sure, you can recognize a hazard at home or on the street. But how do you know the cleaning product your boss gave you is safe? How do you know the machine your supervisor asked you to clean won’t start while you’re working on it? Most workplaces have hazards you’ve never encountered. You have to learn how to know when something’s not safe so you can do something about it.
3. You have the legal right to protect your health and safety. The law protects you from unsafe work and gives you three really important rights:
- You have the Right to Know about any hazards in your job and how you can protect yourself from them.
- You have the Right to Participate in making sure your job and your workplace are safe and healthy.
- You have the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work. No one—not your boss, not your supervisor—can force you to do a job that you believe is unsafe.
4. Your employer, your supervisor and you all have legal responsibilities to make sure the workplace is healthy and safe. OHS law says everyone in the workplace has to do their part to keep it safe:
- Employers must tell you about any hazards and must do everything reasonably possible to protect your health and safety.
- Supervisors must make sure you have the knowledge and tools you need to work safely.
- Workers must follow the law, comply with company safety rules and always work safely.
5. Your employer and your supervisor must ensure you have the information or required training and equipment you need to protect yourself. Any time you start a new job, your supervisor must make sure that you know how to do the job safely and what equipment you need to protect yourself. If your job involves hazardous materials such as chemicals, your supervisor must make sure you are trained in how to use and handle them safely.
6. If you’re injured or become sick at the workplace, you must report it to your supervisor or employer. Don’t be afraid to report an injury, no matter how small. Tell your boss or supervisor about injuries and illnesses right away.
7. And don’t forget…It’s not a game. You have to protect yourself. Don’t gamble with your health and safety. Know your rights. Know your duties. Make sure you get trained.
OHS Insider Young Worker Resources
For more information on how to protect young—and other vulnerable—workers, click here to download a special report from the OHS Insider that tells you how to protect young workers as well as new workers and workers who don’t speak English as their first language.