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

It’s everyone’s responsibility

By Melissa Babcock

I was 15 when I landed a job at the local movie theatre. It was my first real job as up until that point, I’d gotten by on the occasional babysitting gig. My first day was a Saturday matinee shift. I remember feeling nervous as I was led to my station at the concession stand, as I was shown where the extra candy and beverage cups were kept, as I was trained on how to make popcorn and the proper way to serve it (layer the butter!). What I don’t remember about that first day of work was being told anything regarding safety. Not that a movie theatre is typically a workplace fraught with danger, but had I burned my hand with hot popcorn oil or slipped in a puddle of spilled pop, I would have had no idea of what to do or who to tell.

Knowing nothing at the time about my rights when it came to workplace safety, I never asked questions or even gave my work conditions a second thought. I was too excited about finally earning an actual pay cheque and planning what I was going to spend my $4.50 an hour on (that was the minimum wage in Alberta then. Did I just age myself?). But now that I am older and wiser (and part of the Heads Up team), I know that employers and workers share responsibility when it comes to ensuring that the workplace is a safe place.

So just what are those responsibilities? Here’s a brief snapshot:

Employers

  • Take reasonable precautions to ensure the health and safety of everyone at the workplace (for example, through a comprehensive health and safety program).
  • Make sure every employee receives training on safety in the workplace and how they can minimize risks.
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) when needed and maintain any and all equipment related to the work being done.
  • Provide proper instruction and supervision and establish open lines of communication with workers, so they feel comfortable asking questions.

Workers

  • Don’t be afraid to report any unsafe working conditions to your employer.
  • Immediately report any injuries which occur in the workplace.
  • Attend any and all safety training that is offered and follow all safety procedures.
  • Use PPE as required and make sure you use it properly.
  • Ask for help, clarification or additional training when you need it.

Sometimes, no matter how many precautions are taken, accidents still happen. But if employers and employees can work together to promote and encourage safety in the workplace, the chances are greater young workers will make it home safely at the end of the day.

How do you practice safety in your workplace? Tell us by leaving a comment, or send us a tweet @HeadsUpAB.

 

Sources:

http://odc.scdsb.on.ca/Departments/Co-op/pdf/Workplace%20Safety.pdf

http://www.wcb.pe.ca/Workplace/RightsAndResponsibilities 

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