SAFE Work Manitoba announced the launch of the Young Worker Injury Prevention Strategy to address the nearly 5,000 injuries each year to workers between the ages of 15 and 24 in Manitoba.
"In 2014, as a province, we experienced 4,880 injuries to young workers and have lost 17 young lives to workplace incidents over the last decade," said Minister of Labour and Immigration Erna Braun. "The Young Worker Injury Prevention Strategy is a targeted approach to help prevent these tragedies and demonstrates that as Manitobans, we can all do more to help keep young workers safe."
The strategy and its tactics are focused on reaching four groups with the most influence over the safety of young workers: employers, educators, families and young workers themselves.
"This strategy recognizes that we all have a role to play in helping young people stay safe at work," said Jamie Hall, COO, SAFE Work Manitoba. "This includes employers providing required safety orientations to new workers, families encouraging young workers to speak up when they feel unsafe, educators making safe work a part of their lesson plans and young workers themselves using their safety voices to ask questions and influence their co-workers to work safe."
A key component of the strategy is to build and strengthen partnerships with organizations that share the vision of a safer Manitoba for young workers, such as SAFE Workers of Tomorrow, a team of occupational safety presenters that deliver presentations to high school students in the province.
"Last year, SAFE Workers of Tomorrow delivered workplace safety presentations to more than 44,000 high school students in our province," said Peter Reimer, executive director, SAFE Workers of Tomorrow. "The Young Worker Injury Prevention Strategy will help us expand the reach of our safety message to ensure every high school student in Manitoba hears about the importance of safe work."
SAFE Work Manitoba worked with an advisory group, co-chaired by SAFE Workers of Tomorrow, to develop the Young Worker Injury Prevention Strategy. The advisory group included representation from educators, young workers, employers, safety association and government partners.
"As a teacher, I understand the need to educate our next generation of workers about their right to be safe at work," said Brendan McManus, industrial arts teacher at Sanford Collegiate and advisory group member. "The Young Worker Injury Prevention Strategy will help give teachers tools they can use in the classroom to do this, such as online courses, resources and more, to help us spread the safe work message."
SAFE Work Manitoba will implement the Young Worker Injury Prevention Strategy over the next three years. Tactics will aim to educate and create safety awareness, reach out to all Manitobans about the role they can play to keep young workers safe, build and strengthen safety partnerships and achieve innovation through tools and resources.
© Copyright Canadian Occupational Safety, HAB Press. All rights reserved.