Our future is now!
Getting life-saving information to new workers
Young workers a good place to start
Ask new workers if they or one of their friends have been injured or killed on the job. Not surprisingly, many have.
Ask new workers if they are aware of their specific legal rights and duties provided under occupational health and safety legislation. Many aren't.
Ask new workers if they'd like more information about their rights, workplace hazards and ways employers should control or better yet eliminate them. Many will.
But how do we get this information to new workers?
Eighteen years ago leadership at the Workers Health & Safety Centre answered this question by joining with the Ontario Teachers' Federation (OTF) to develop health and safety awareness presentations for high school students. While it is the employer's duty to train new and existing workers about potential occupational hazards and the like, it obviously wasn't happening in many workplaces. High schools provided strategic access to a large segment of new workers. It was a start. With time, it became evident it was a very good start.
Today, the Workers Centre continues to partner with the OTF to deliver what is now known as the Young Worker Awareness Program (YWAP). In 2006 teacher union presenters delivered over 1,200 potentially life-saving presentations to some 36,000 Ontario high school students. They are on track to equal, if not surpass, this outreach in 2007.
Recognizing the need for awareness out strips their own existing resources though, the Workers Centre has also developed alliances with other community groups and member organizations. Two of these unique programs are delivered in April of each year. The Workers Centre develops program content and learning aids, while member organizations provide the delivery arm. Combined they connect with over 100,000 students annually.
'At the Workers Centre we take special pride in all our programs aimed at youth or students,' says Dave Killham, Workers Centre executive director. 'It's about our future. And there is no time like the present to begin securing this future. To put it another way, our future is now!'
To learn more about Workers Health & Safety Centre youth initiatives or other related resources be sure to visit the following.