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Students hear inspirational workplace safety message

November 25, 2013

If Candace Carnahan had known more about workplace safety as a youth, she may still have both of her legs. That was the message she shared with students during a recent WorkSafeNB-sponsored tour of Anglophone high schools.

“We are very pleased to sponsor speakers who can make such an instant and personal connection with New Brunswick youth,” said WorkSafeNB president and CEO Gerard Adams. “Their stories are gripping, emotional and serve as excellent reminders for students who might be starting their first job.”

Carnahan wishes she could have been reminded before she was injured.

"I know first-hand what can happen if you are unaware of the risks and hazards of going to work and what can happen to parents who don't really know their kids are being put at risk when they are going out,” she told a capacity crowd at Carleton North High School on October 28, one of several stops along the way.

As a 21-year-old, Carnahan was working at a mill in Miramichi when unsafe work conditions led to an incident where she lost her left leg below the knee.

"It was a matter of the exact wrong place at the exact wrong time, which is often the case when something goes wrong." 

The tour, aptly named See Something. Say Something., reminded students of their right to speak up if they feel unsafe on the job. During the seven-week tour, Carnahan shared her story with more than 6,000 students from 14 schools across the districts.

WorkSafeNB youth programs co-ordinator, Jessica Brodie, accompanied Carnahan on the tour. She said it’s important to reach out to youth in ways that will make them take notice.

“We wanted to deliver workplace health and safety messages in such a way that not only raises awareness, but also inspires youth to take charge of their own and others’ health and safety. Candace’s presentation did just that,” Brodie said.

And although WorkSafeNB continues to provide workplace health and safety information through traditional methods such as classroom resources, Brodie said youth tours offer something pamphlets and books can’t match.

“The tour allowed us to connect with youth in ways that wouldn’t be possible if we stuck with just the traditional methods of disseminating information. Judging from student feedback, it’s safe to say Candace really struck a chord.”

Youth tours have become a popular way to reach New Brunswick’s students over the years. Tours generally feature a young worker under the age of 30 who has been seriously injured on the job. Past speakers have included Nick Perry of British Columbia and Jonathan Plante of Quebec.  Both men broke their backs while working on construction sites in their respective provinces.

To learn more about safety in the workplace, visit YouthSafeNB.ca.

 

Students hear inspirational workplace safety message
More than 6,000 New Brunswick students heard Candace Carnahan’s workplace safety message this fall.
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