The 411 On Young Workers

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Training and compliance are essential at all levels of experience, but young workers are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents. Newly published results from the Ministry of Labour’s 2014 New and Young Workers Blitz revealed workers are three times more likely to be injured during their first month on the job than at any other time. Here’s the latest buzz around young workers. Do your part to help this critical sector of the workforce thrive!

  • The Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives recently released a report concluding that young people need more student aid and more help transitioning into the workforce. The key takeaways were that work experience, gender issues for women, student debt, and poor information can prevent young people from achieving stable employment after graduation. It was suggested that companies modify their qualification requirements to better include young people with less experience.
  • A contracting company in the Calgary region is facing several OH&S charges, including inappropriately employing a person younger than 15 years old, following a July incident in which a 14-year-old employee fell from a roof. The province also came under fire over the summer when a 15-year-old was killed in a conveyor accident near Wintering Hills.
  • Responding to increases in non-unionized, part-time and contract work, a new non-profit hopes to help workers understand their rights, navigate legal and bureaucratic systems, and file insurance claims. The Sudbury Workers Education and Advocacy Centre specifically aims to help young workers understand their rights and protect themselves from being taken advantage of by employers. The organization will present educational workshops in high schools throughout the year.

Opening up opportunities to young workers can certainly be beneficial, but it comes with the additional responsibility of ensuring they have been properly trained and educated BEFORE they go to work. Learning on the job is not sufficient.

Keep in mind that everyone learns differently, and at different speeds. Also remember how valuable seasoned employees can be in sharing their stories and guidance with those just starting out.

Safety News You Can Use

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  • The Ministry of Labour announced a new training standard which includes hazard identification, ladder safety, the proper use of PPE, and the rights and responsibilities regarding working at heights. The Working at Heights Training Program Standard, which goes into effect on April 1, will be mandatory for all provincial worksites that fall under the Regulations for Construction Projects. The standard applies immediately to all Ontario construction workers who have not already been trained under the Regulations for Construction Projects. Those who already have this training have until April 1, 2017 to qualify for the new requirements.
  • Also in Ontario, businesses should prepare for two upcoming Health & Safety blitzes, both running from Feb 2 – March 15. Industrial sector will see a Slips, Trips and Falls blitz, and Mining businesses should anticipate Water Management inspections.
  • The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) has called on all employers in the province, including the provincial government, to review and revise safety protocols. The initiative comes in response to two recent courts decisions on OH&S violations which resulted in fatalities. In both cases, charges included failure to provide proper information, training, PPE, instruction and supervision, in addition to other charges.
  • BC’s Southern Railway (SRY) has shut the gates at work sites and hired security guards to remove over 100 workers. Managers are now in charge of operating trains for a service area that stretches from Vancouver to Chilliwack. There are concerns over whether or not managers, who are qualified on paper, have the experience necessary run trains safely. The lockout is a result of unresolved health and safety concerns around fatigue, overtime, wages, and working conditions.