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WSIB launches annual youth safety campaign

Toronto, ON -- The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) launched its seventh Awareness Campaign targeted to ...


Toronto, ON — The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) launched its seventh Awareness Campaign targeted to young workers this morning (June 20, 2005). As young people begin summer jobs, the WSIB is urging them to consider the importance of occupational health and safety by posing the question: “How safe is your job?”

The campaign features radio and print advertising designed to position workplace safety as an important issue that needs to be top of mind for young workers. The print advertising highlights the true stories of three young people who have been personally affected by a workplace tragedy. The three compelling radio ads, each situated in a specific industry sector, provide true-to-life examples of what can happen when safe work practices are not in place.

The statistics about young worker safety in Ontario are alarming:

– In 2004, more than 13,000 young workers were injured seriously enough to require time off work.

– Last year, seven young workers lost their lives due to work-related injuries.

– New workers are six times as likely than more experienced workers to get hurt at work.

While employers are accountable under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act for ensuring that workplaces are safe, young workers have an important role to play in ensuring they stay healthy and safe at work.

“Young people need to think about safety before starting a new job. They need to ask about training and hazards and talk to their supervisor and ask questions if they feel uncertain about work practices,” says Jill Hutcheon, president and interim chair, WSIB. “New workers are particularly vulnerable and that’s why it’s vitally important that they know their rights and their responsibilities.”

Sharing their stories in this year’s campaign are:

– Michelle Issacs of Mississauga, whose fiance, Mike Barrasso, was electrocuted while working as an apprentice electrician.

– Trista Hughes of North Bay, who lost her brother Dylan when a forklift he was operating crushed his chest. He had been on the job for one month.

– Randy Georges of Leamington, who suffered second and third degree burns while cleaning a deep fryer at a restaurant. It was only his third day on the job.

The campaign promotes the WSIB’s young worker website, www.youngworker.ca, along with a toll-free phone number: 1-888-921-WSIB for youth to obtain additional information and resources. The website contains health and safety information for parents, young workers, educators and employers, including a page that outlines the “seven things you’d better know” to stay safe in the workplace.

Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board plays a key role in the province’s occupational health and safety system. The WSIB is committed to the prevention of workplace injury and illness. It also administers the province’s no-fault workplace insurance for employers and their workers. As part of this system, the WSIB provides disability benefits, monitors the quality of healthcare and assists in the early and safe return to work for workers who are injured on the job or contract an occupational disease.