September 10 marks Youth Safety Education Day in Saskatchewan, and presents an important opportunity to make young workers, their parents, and employers aware of the risks that young people in Saskatchewan face in the workplace and, most importantly, how these injuries can be prevented.
Since 2012, the province has proclaimed Youth Safety Education Day at the request of the Service and Hospitality Safety Association (SHSA). Each year, SHSA organizes education and learning events across the province to raise awareness about workplace injuries and prevention.
This week, thousands of students from across the province will gather to receive education, resources, and training on the risks of workplace injuries and how they can be avoided.
Events organized in various communities across the province will educate and encourage schools, organizations, and businesses to be mindful and informed about workplace safety. These events also serve as a reminder to parents of young workers to have a conversation about some of the issues their children may face when entering the workforce.
Inexperienced young workers are more likely to get hurt on the job and are less likely to know about employment standards than more experienced workers. It is important for young workers to understand their rights, to feel comfortable asking questions, and to know they can refuse to perform any task they feel is unsafe.
On average, three young people will die on the job and more than 4,000 young workers will suffer a workplace injury in Saskatchewan each year. These accidents are preventable, and the government’s goal remains putting an end to workplace injuries and fatalities.
In 2015, the Government of Saskatchewan began offering the Young Worker Readiness Certificate Course (YWRCC). This job-readiness course teaches young people about their rights and responsibilities, health and safety issues, as well as what to do when they feel unsafe in the workplace.
While mandatory for 14- and 15-year-olds entering the workforce, all young workers in Saskatchewan can benefit from this training and are encouraged to complete the free course. The YWRCC can be taken online.
Teachers are also introducing a number of programs and initiatives, such as the YWRCC and the Community Safety Education Strategy, into the classroom to help prepare students and prevent tragedies by giving our young people the knowledge to identify risks and manage them.
Safety is addressed at many grade levels and in a variety of curricula such as health, wellness, and practical and applied arts and science. The skills learned here are transferable to other environments, including the workplace.
Other safety education resources, including tips for both employers and parents, are available at WorkSafe Saskatchewan and Safe Saskatchewan.
Government and community-based organizations are also working together in many ways to make people mindful and informed about workplace safety. To date, SHSA has partnered with 167 organizations, businesses, and schools across Saskatchewan, reaching more than 27,000 youth. This year, SHSA plans to reach and provide safety education resources to more than 60,000 youth, in partnership with more than 200 partner organizations and employers. For more information about partnership opportunities with SHSA, please visit their website.
As we celebrate Youth Safety Education Day, let’s focus on what is most important, the safety of our children. Take the time to consider workplace safety and help prepare these new and future members of Saskatchewan’s workforce.