By Melissa Babcock
Five years ago, I walked up the concrete steps to my new workplace for the first time. I was fresh out of school and about to embark on a summer job in my newly chosen field. I was nervous to the point of sweating but was hopeful that my stint as a summer student would go well and give me some much needed experience in my new career.
Well, that summer thankfully turned into a permanent job and this week, things came full circle when I got up in front of our newest employees and gave a quick presentation about the Heads Up campaign. We try to reach out to this particular group of new recruits every year since a lot of them are students and are therefore exactly who we want to connect with. Any time we can reach out to young workers and encourage them to learn more about workplace safety, we take full advantage.
As I prepped for my presentation, I thought back to the reasons why the Heads Up campaign was created in the first place. Workers in Alberta under the age of 25 are 50 per cent more likely than older workers to be injured during their first six months on the job. And in 2015, over 7,000 young workers in Alberta were injured in a workplace accident.
Those are pretty sobering statistics and when I think about it, I don’t remember ever giving safety a second thought when I was younger and first started working. I didn’t have the first clue about safety training or procedures or my rights in the workplace. And when I think about some of the risks I took back then (scaling high shelves in a stock room instead of getting a ladder comes to mind), I realize how lucky I was to escape serious injury. Having a campaign like Heads Up, or any safety resources to draw on, might have made me more aware of such an important issue.
How can you learn more?
The Canadian Government’s Services for Youth website has some excellent resources for students entering the workforce this summer. You can also look at Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety page for young workers. And of course, we on the Heads Up team are always happy to talk about safety whenever we can. Check out one of our past blogs for some information on your rights in the workplace.
Keep your heads up and work smart so your summer can be both rewarding and safe!
Have a summer job experience to share? What do you know about safety as a young worker? Leave us a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB!