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Safety Matters


Our blog discussing workplace safety opportunities in Nova Scotia and around the world.

Supporting young worker injury prevention
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When it comes to workplace injury, young workers are not immune to the potential dangers of their workplace. Last year alone, 3,131 young workers were injured on the job and 599 of them lost time from work because of their injuries - compared to 519 in 2020 and 592 in 2019.

Early education surrounding safety and injury prevention can help keep young workers safe now and for many more years to come.

This is what the WCB and the Nova Scotia Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration (LSI) had in mind when they partnered on create summer educational events as part of continued initiatives to engage young workers in occupational health and safety at the workplace.

It’s an initiative that’s been going strong for several years, and this summer, Lise Theriault, a WCB Relationship Manager, is helping lead it with a focus on service industries in the retail, food, and beverage sectors. 

To kickstart this summer, Kelly McIntyre-Hayes, a WCB Workplace Consultant, and Lise worked with Costco in Bayer’s Lake to organize an event focused on engaging young workers with a safety and prevention survey. 

“The goal of events like this is to work with employers to engage with young workers, in person, in a comfortable setting without the need for enforcement and to assess the health and safety awareness of young workers,” says Lise.

Costco’s Warehouse Manager and OH&S representative, Jeff Hill, invited young workers to the lunchroom to participate in the event, which included answering questions from a safety and prevention survey. “It was well received by our staff to see a healthy partnership between Costco and WCB. We’re looking forward to the next event!” said Jeff.

“Workplace injuries are preventable. When youth know their rights and can recognize risks, they have the confidence to talk about and protect their safety,” says Andrea Vardy, Director of Large Workplace Services at WCB. “Initiatives like this with LSI enable workplaces to support and adopt a safety culture for young workers.”

Young workers don’t always recognize the importance of workplace safety culture. It is employers’ responsibility to help young workers understand why workplace safety should be their number one priority. Check out the resources in our young workers hub to help start the conversation about workplace safety with the young workers in your life.

Did you know? 

In 2021, there were 272 young workers injured in the accommodation, food, and beverage industry alone. Some of the way those workers were hurt included overexertion from lifting, lacerations in food slicers, and slips, trips, or falls.

For the latest on supporting young workers to work safely, check out Work Safe for Life for a compilation of some of our best tips and prevention resources for young workers, including videos, discussion guides, workplace kits and much more.  

Health and safety cards in seven different languages are available for the young workers as part of the young worker safety events this summer. They outline a worker’s three rights – the right to know, participate, and refuse work. It also outlines their responsibilities which includes: to work safely, to follow safe work guidelines, use machinery and equipment properly and report any unsafe acts or conditions. 

Lise Theriault, Relationship Manager, RFB, pictured far left, along with Brad Wells and Denise Blanchard-Carpentier, LSI Awareness & Outreach Officers, completes safety and prevention surveys with young workers from Costco.

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