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What does gender have to do with workplace safety?

By Lauren Smith


Here at Heads Up we always talk about the importance of young worker safety for ALL young workers.

But the stats suggest that a certain cohort might be more at risk for workplace accidents:

Males account for approximately 75 per cent of all young worker injuries in Alberta.

In the last three years, 32 Albertans between 18-25 years of age suffered a fatal workplace accident. All of those workers were male.

WorkSafe BC recently reported similar findings in their province.


What’s the reason for these scary stats?

It isn’t because young males are careless or not taking safety seriously, it’s because they tend to work in certain fields and positions that are more physically demanding and dangerous than females their age.

Take Matthew Bowcott’s story. He was 19 years old and working at a restaurant when he suffered severe burns from hot oil splashing on his face and chest.

When Bowcott was asked to empty the vat of hot deep fryer oil that day, he noticed the floor was wet and his gut told him that this was a dangerous task, especially given the circumstances.  Bowcott said he didn’t trust his gut instinct, but he wished he had. (Read more of his story here).

Matthew Bowcott’s story resonates with me because trusting your gut is a message that the Heads Up campaign has promoted, and stories like this remind us why. Every industry and every job comes with its own risks, but in positions where you’re working in a particularly risky situation, a tiny mistake or oversight could quickly turn tragic and become life-altering.  


Workplace safety is everyone’s responsibility

It’s up to employers to educate their workforce about the necessary safety protocols and regulations for each employee’s job. It’s our responsibility as workers to follow those safety rules and procedures. But sometimes the most thorough safety program may miss something. That’s why it is so important to listen to your gut instinct and speak up if something doesn’t feel safe – whatever your gender.


Trust your gut

tyg girl

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