With the summer months beginning this is the time when students are starting new jobs. These young workers and/or new workers (under the age of 25 and/or have been in a particular job for less than six months) are at a high risk for getting injured while at work. In fact, new workers are 3 times more likely to be injured during their first month than other, more experienced workers. While many of these injuries are minor there is always risk for a more serious injury or death if proper procedures are not followed. In Ontario, according to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), in the years between 2009 and 2013, 30 youth workers died in work related incidents and another 30,000 received injuries that led to lost time.
Most injuries can be prevented so it is important to ask questions and understand the correct and safe way to do your job, especially if it is something you have never done before. Health and safety concerns should always be reported to your supervisor or manager and you cannot be punished if you make a complaint or raise a concern at work. If you feel that you have been punished for raining a concern, you can report it to the Ministry of Labour.
Know your rights:
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) all workers have certain rights:
- The “right to participate”. While this is usually seen as a Health and Safety Committee or Representative, all workers are expected to speak up when they see unsafe working conditions or hazards and to follow all safety precautions.
- The “right to know”. All workers have the right to know and be trained about hazards specific to their workplace
- The “right to refuse work”. All workers have the right to refuse work that the feel is dangerous.
Know your responsibilities:
All workers have the responsibility to ensure that everyone has a safe place to work. Section 28 of OHSA lists additional specific duties:
- Work in compliance with the Act and regulations;
- Tell the employer or supervisor about any known missing or defective equipment or protective device that may be dangerous;
- Use any equipment, protective devices or clothing required by the employer;
- Report any known workplace hazard or violation of the Act to the employer or supervisor;
- Not remove or make ineffective any protective device required by the employer or by the regulations.
Remember your rights and responsibilities in the workplace and work safe!
- Ontario Ministry of Labour website
- Workplace Safety and Insurance Board website