Are Youth Becoming Safer Workers? The Proof Is In The Numbers…

Who remembers their first job? Maybe it was lifeguarding at the neighborhood pool or working the concession stand at the ball diamonds. Maybe it was scooping ice cream at the local ice cream shop. We all remember our first jobs – whether we loved it, hated it, or just wanted the paycheck to build our Pog collection.

My first job was at a local fast-food restaurant, amongst deep fryers, hot coffee carafes, sharp kitchen equipment, and other hazards. Lucky for me (and considering my lack of safety training – luck is what it may have boiled down to) I was never hurt at work. I never had to miss the school dance due to a sprained ankle from slipping on a greasy floor, nor did I have to sit out gym class dodgeball because of a broken thumb from getting my hand caught in the ice cream mixer. Like I said – I was lucky.

But did you know that young workers are 3x as likely to experience a workplace injury than any other demographic?

In 2011, Service Hospitality took notice. Between 2008 – 2011 they found that young workers in Saskatchewan were averaging 795 workplace injuries a year, 27% of those injuries happening to 13 to 18 year-olds.

Then, Youth Safety Education Day was launched. And guess what? Young worker injuries dipped to an average of 557 injuries per year, with 22% coming from 13 to 18 year-olds.

This wasn’t enough. Service Hospitality wanted to engrain a mindset, a belief, and a culture of safety in the minds of the province’s young people. The new strategy involved getting into classrooms with curriculum-based safety presentations for grades 3 through 12. By connecting with them year after year, the hope was that children and teens would start to prioritize their own safety before they even took their very first step into the workplace.

Did the strategy work? In 2017 – 2018 young worker injuries took yet another dive to an average of 487 injuries per year, with 17% coming from 13 to 17 year-olds.

While workplace-specific training is critical, young people need the opportunity to learn and practice general health and safety skills that they will carry with them from job to job.

Service Hospitality offers a variety of classroom workshops, including:

Grade 3 – Hazard Hero

Grade 4/5 – Community Safety

Grade 6 – Safety at home, school, and while socializing

Grade 8  – Mental Health & Anxiety

Grades 7-12 – Safety in Schools

For a teen, work isn’t always the priority – homecoming football games, dance class, maybe even a little homework – these are reasonable priorities. And Service Hospitality is committed to eliminating young worker injuries so youth can continue to prioritize being safe and healthy teens.

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