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Protect Young People From Workplace Accidents

This post is about a Canadian situation, but it also applies to New York City and the United States generally. In the province of Saskatchewan, workers under age 25 suffer more workplace accidents than do older workers. Most injuries occur during July and August, when young workers are out of school and have temporary jobs.

Most of the jobs filled by young people in the summer involve the construction, retail, hospitality and manufacturing sectors. A spokesperson for the Saskatchewan Workers Compensation Board (WCB) says that most work injuries occur to hands, backs, shoulders, head and eyes.

The spokesperson for the provincial WCB said that although employers are responsible for providing safety training and maintain safe workplaces, young workers should not hesitate to ask for the information they need to stay safe. It's important to emphasize this, as young workers still in school may be reluctant to put themselves forward and possibly be known as troublemakers. The message to teens and young adults is to not hesitate to make yourself as safe as possible on the job.

The Saskatchewan WorkSafe organization says that three short messages can make the difference between a successful summer job and one that carries the risk of injury. These messages are:

  • If it feels wrong or unsafe, it probably is
  • There's no such thing as a stupid question
  • Just ask

These reminders also apply to older workers, but it's very important that summer workers hear and act on them. Why? Take a look at some of the statistics below to see why it is so important to protect younger workers:

  • Young workers new to the job - less than six months - are two to three times more likely to suffer an injury than older workers. Because all summer workers have limited time on the job, certainly less than six months.
  • In 2013, 19.6 percent of all workplace injuries involved younger workers.
  • Around 6,000 aged 14 to 25 are injured while working in Saskatchewan.
  • The most common injury is being struck by an object. This is not limited to falling .construction debris, but can involve a knife slipping or a door slamming.
  • The most common injuries to young people are among laborers in the building trades.
  • To prevent injuries, wear the right equipment, such as gloves and steel-toed boots. Concentrate. Ask for help with heavy lifting, Use a cart to move heavy objects. And ask questions about the safest way to do things.