You Are Never Too Young For Health And Safety

Woman holding boxes

Do you remember the excitement of starting your first job? Perhaps it was working at a summer camp in the kitchen ‘dish-pit’, bussing tables at a restaurant, delivering newspapers in your neighbourhood or working as a cashier at the local grocery store. With this first job came your first pay-cheque and the pride of saving for something that you could buy with your own well-earned money. Hopefully these are positive memories for you of your first steps into the world of ‘adult’ work.

As part of your first job do you remember receiving Health and Safety training? This part of your memory may not be as clear because, unfortunately, many young workers are not provided with the necessary introductions to working safely.

All workers, especially inexperienced workers, need to be protected by legislative requirements and by their employer. Someone on their very first job needs more care and attention devoted to their personal safety. As such, it is fundamental that the employer provides resources, training and support to emphasize and prioritize how to work safely.

Workplace Safety North is an excellent on-line resource for employers. It provides up-to-date safety information, promotional materials, Ministry of Labour alerts and valuable prevention tips for Northern Ontario industries. It also provides a comprehensive overview of the requirements for employers to protect young workers in any industry. This material includes two very compelling video clips.

The first relates the tragic story of 18-year-old David Ellis who was killed on the job on his second day of work. Rob Ellis, David’s father, speaks eloquently and painfully about the circumstances and the impact of his son’s death. It is powerful viewing.

The second clip provides an orientation for young workers that any employer can use as part of their introductory health and safety resources. This is a useful and necessary tool for any workplace.

Click here to review Workplace Safety North’s young worker resources.

If you keep your younger self in mind, finding your own way through your early work experience, perhaps it will help you to help others as you develop your own workplace Health and Safety resources.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When and how will you use the young worker safety orientation clip as part of a new employee orientation program?
  2. Why do you think an employer should pay particular attention and provide more support to young workers with regard to health and safety practices?
  3. What types of health and safety training did you receive on your first job? What would you do differently if you were the employer?