Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

Nova Scotia sent a work safety message to employers, parents and students in July 2011 as young people exited school and readied themselves for summer employment.

“Entering the workforce for the first time can be intimidating,” Nova Scotia Labour Minister Marilyn More notes in an op-ed piece. “Because of this, people can be uncomfortable speaking up about concerns and asking questions at their jobs,” the minister says.

Last year, 3,665 workers under the age of 25 reported claims to Nova Scotia’s WCB, based in Halifax. “We must all work together to make our workplaces as safe as possible and do our part to decreased these numbers,” More says, emphasizing that employees have the right to refuse unsafe work.

“Parents or guardians play a very important role in keeping young workers safe,” notes WCB spokesperson Joanne Elliott. “When they are hired, find out as much as possible about their jobs.”

To help assess if a job poses a risk, ask specific questions about the tasks being done, the training and information received, and the direction provided by supervisors, says Brian Taylor, a spokesperson for Nova Scotia’s Department of Labour and Advanced Education in Halifax. If the answers raise issues, “they should be explored further,” Taylor says.

My opinion

Youth safety is a top priority for most provinces. The provincial governments understand the need to protect the young workforce and have placed controls in place to ensure a safer workplace for them.

Today’s youth are not afraid to ask questions where, just a few years ago, the young workers, fresh out of college or high school, would ask only two questions, 1) how much am I going to make and 2) how many hours am I going to work.

Training has to be at the top of any safety program. All workers, young and old, deserve to work in a safe environment. Let’s ensure that they do. I do hope Nova Scotia has improved in that area.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at info@hrsgroup.com

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.