Work Smart. Work Safe.
Keep your "Heads Up" and work safe!

WORK SAFE WORK SMART EPISODE 4: SAFETY LUNCH

Safety…

What does it mean to us?

How do we learn about it?

Why should we care about it?

These are just some of the questions asked at our first ever “Heads Up” young worker focus group. In the past, I’ve had one-on-one interviews with young workers and, after our break, I figured it was time to go big or go home. So, we gathered a group of 22 young workers to discuss their thoughts on workplace safety and listened to some of their safety confessions.

Confession time


Everybody knows at least one person who has been in an unsafe situation. We had a lot of people come forward with stories during our discussion. I don’t want to leave anyone out, so here is just a brief look at some of the confessions that show injuries among young workers are common:

  • One girl who worked for a framing company cut open her arm on discarded glass piled into a metal bin behind the store.
  • One guy worked as a glass technician. One of his co-workers was delivering a mirror and while he was moving it into a basement, the mirror broke and almost severed the guy’s leg.
  • One girl cut her hand with packing tape while taping up boxes – yes, packing tape.
  • One guy was working at an industrial site and crossed a red line without realizing it. Equipment was being hoisted overhead with cranes and, since he was wearing earplugs, his co-workers had to physically pull him away as he couldn’t hear them yelling at him. Needless to say, he was a little bit more attentive when he wore earplugs after that.

Why do we get hurt?

After talking about how we get injured, we started talking about young workers and some of the reasons why we get injured. Interestingly enough, they came up with some of the points we have been talking about in the last few blogs, such as:

  • Not speaking up for yourself when you see unsafe work for fear of getting fired.
  • Cutting corners to get a job done faster.
  • Having the “It couldn’t happen to me” attitude.
  • Not really thinking about safety in the first place.

They also came up with some new things that I thought were interesting and that we expand on in future blogs.

  • If you’re new to the work force, you don’t always know about safety. You rely on your employer to teach you safe practices and look out for you but you should also be asking a lot of questions. Safety is a team effort.
  • Being told to do routine duties that may not seem unsafe (such as repetitive heavy lifting) because no-one is thinking about serious injury.  Any work can cause injury if you are not careful and make sure you have the help you need.

Looking into the future

We talked about ways to not only inform young workers of safety practices and rights but also things that could change to make a safer environment for them. I think we came up with one main point we can all agree is important.

  • Young workers should look for work environments that are open and encourage honesty, so that they can feel welcome to come forward with any questions they may have and can contribute to safety discussions.

Until next time, make sure to keep your Head Up and trust your gut.

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