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Keeping Young Workers Safe, One Course at a Time

Keeping Young Workers Safe, One Course at a Time

Published: 02/25/2015 by Safety in Schools

» Health & Wellness

July 2002: A female labourer, age 21, falls off the roof of a building she is working on. 

December 2005: A 21—year-old man dies operating a man-lift. He is in his first month on the job. 

November 2011: A budding journalist, age 22, gets into a fatal collision driving home after working excessive hours at his internship. 

March 2014: A 21—year-old man is crushed by a heavy steel boom at a new job in the oil patch. 

All of these deaths took place on Canadian worksites; all of them could have been prevented. 

 

In 2011—2013, 96 young workers aged 15–24 had fatal incidents on Canadian worksites. Within those years, another 92,907 time-loss injuries were accepted by Worker’s Compensation Boards for the same age group,1 with young men being at twice the risk of being injured at work. 


In Alberta alone, 21 workers suffered worksite fatalities and 11,161 lost time at work due to injuries from 2011-2013. A combination of inexperience and lack of training leads to most of these injuries occurring within the first six months on the job.4 Many young and first-time workers don’t fully understand their rights and responsibilities and do not have the confidence to refuse unsafe work, ask questions and raise safety concerns with their supervisor.


Worksite Education 
ComplyWorks and Gemini Performance Solutions partnered up in 2010 to address worksite fatalities and injuries and created Safety in Schools – a not-forprofit organization that delivers free, online, industry-recognized workplace safety courses to high school students. 
The goal is to prepare every young person entering the workforce with the ability to recognize and avoid hazards, before they are at risk and before they develop unsafe habits. 


Safety in Schools offers a range of online courses from the OH&S Awareness and Your Rights and Responsibilities at Work courses to more targeted areas such as Transportation of Dangerous Goods and Overhead Power Line Awareness. 


All courses offer immediate, automatic grading. Every course completed earns an industry-recognized certificate of completion, which students can reference on their resume, add to their portfolio and bring with them to the jobsite. 


Province Wide 
Over three years of operation, Safety in Schools has grown from a pilot study in one school with seven students to more than 160 schools with over 38,000 course enrollments. Currently, over 80 per cent of the Public and 70 per cent of Catholic school districts in Alberta have signed up to use the program. 


Recently, safety in Schools started working with parent groups and representatives of Alberta Education to provide access to homeschool students in Alberta. This initiative has been met with great initial success and will expand to reach more homeschool students throughout the 2014-2015 school year. 

 

Resources
“Tips of Supervisors: Supervising Young Workers” work.alberta.ca
Statistics provided by the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada
“Tips of Supervisors: Supervising Young Workers” work.alberta.ca
Statistics provided by the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada
 WorkSafe BC, FAQ