Schools out for summer and with a break from school comes a chance for our young people to embrace the working world. This is an opportunity for our children to learn about working for a living, saving for purchases or toiling to pay down student debt or tuition. As parents our role is to encourage our offspring to take on new challenges and develop themselves by finding rewarding work that will help them accomplish these things. However, as they grow it becomes more difficult to protect them particularly at the worksite, all we can really do is provide advice and support as they meet the challenges of being in the workforce.

Now workers of all ages can be injured at work, but young and new workers may be more vulnerable. Particularly young males, they face a significantly higher risk of injury than the overall working population. Could it be that these young workers do not question risky situations at work, even if they truly feel unsafe? Yes, injuries can result from hesitancy to ask questions, but also inadequate training, inexperience, lack of supervision, exposure to more dangerous jobs, lack of understanding of their workplace, and lack of awareness of workplace rights and responsibilities.

Everyone deserves a safe workplace and part of the solution involves knowing the risks, and being able to ask the right questions so they can be avoided. Parents need to inform their children that this is not the time to be shy. They must be educated and this is the right time to ask questions; one in five young workers is injured in the first month of employment and more than half in the first month.

The ability to recognize potential hazards in the workplace requires observation, learning and experience this is why as a parent you cannot let up and put faith in an employer’s ability to protect your child. Although all employers in Canada must provide training on workplace hazardous, sometimes this is not always the case.

The message to convey to your children is, if there is any doubt about the safety of the materials you are handling or the duties of your employment, you have the right and the responsibility to bring you concerns to your supervisor’s attention. Additionally, young workers should be furnished with questions to ask their employers.

  • What are the dangers of my job?
  • Are there any hazards that I should be aware of?
  • Will I receive job safety training?
  • Is there any safety gear that I’ll be expected to wear?
  • Will I receive training in how to use it?
  • Will I be trained in emergency procedures (fire, chemical spill)? When?
  • Where are fire extinguishers, first aid kits and other emergency equipment located?
  • What are my health and safety responsibilities?
  • Who do I ask if I have safety questions?
  • Do you have any safety meetings?
  • What do I do if I get hurt? Who is the first aid person?
  • Encouraging your children to ask questions and take their own safety seriously could be the difference between watching them graduate and go on to have long fulfilling, careers or being injured or worst. So this summer lets ensure that your son or daughter understands that no job is worth risking life or limb.

Below find Canadian resources for young workers: