[This talk is for experienced employees who will work alongside young workers. Schedule this talk ideally one week to four weeks before summer students, interns or other young workers arrive in the workplace.]
Young workers, aged 15-24, are three to four times more likely to be hurt on the job within the first six months of employment as the average Canadian worker. *
In New Brunswick, an average 1,000 young workers are hurt in the workplace each year.
We want everyone to practise safety. But we want to especially look out for young workers. We want them to have a good start, learning lessons that will help keep them safe for life.
As experienced employees, we can each do our part to help young workers. In fact, we are legally obligated to do so. Under New Brunswick’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, we are each responsible for our own safety as well as the safety of others.
Young workers need extra training and supervision, and only as a team can we ensure they get the knowledge and support they need.
So how can you help young workers stay safe?
[Instructor: Encourage responses from participants.]
Friendly reminders let all workers know safety comes first.
What happens if PPE doesn’t fit properly? If you have real-life examples of workers hurt from improper PPE or lack of PPE, share the story and explain the consequences.
Young workers want your feedback. Let them know if there is a better, safer way to perform a task. Offer opportunity for questions and comments, and provide positive feedback when young workers demonstrate safe practices.
When modelling safe behaviour, explain why it’s important to you and others in the workplace. Explain how everyone works together to keep all workers safe.
As experienced employees, we may not notice the everyday tasks we do to keep ourselves and others safe. Give more thought to these daily routines and practices and talk about it with young workers.
How else can you help?
Talk about health and safety every day. Talk about our joint health and safety committee, what it does and how young workers can get involved. Talk about news stories or personal experiences related to safety. Use everyday workplace situations as opportunities to discuss hazards and risks.
Remember, we were all young workers at one time. Remember how overwhelming it may have seemed. In such situations, health and safety may be compromised. Talking about safety helps keep us all safe. It makes safety part of who we are and what we do.
Thanks for participating today. Do you have any questions?
* Institute for Work and Health (Ontario)