Edmonton, AB — Statistics have consistently shown that workers between the ages of 15 and 19 run a higher risk of getting hurt on the job than older, more experienced workers. Those who are new to the workforce are less aware of workplace hazards, and they often have no idea of their rights and responsibilities under health and safety law.
Alberta is reinforcing the safety message to young people through the school system before they even enter the workforce. In a joint initiative launched in September 2006, Alberta Education and Alberta Human Resources and Employment (AHRE) partnered to help teachers raise students’ awareness of workplace health and safety to reduce their risk of work-related injury, illness or death.
“Educating students in the classroom about workplace health and safety is an excellent way to prepare them for the realities that they will face at school and on the worksite,” said Education Minister Gene Zwozdesky, on the launch of the program.
Alberta high schools received a set of health and safety resources designed to prepare students for the workforce. These included a two-binder set of information on health and safety legislation, health and safety management, and a list of physical, chemical, biological, psychosocial and ergonomic hazards found in the workplace and their controls. A “Workplace Health and Safety Teacher’s Toolkit” includes additional information on CD, as well as printed publications, safety bulletins and statistics.
Each high school and each school jurisdictional office received one copy of the Resources Binders and Teacher’s Toolkit. Alberta Education’s Learning Resource Centre makes additional copies available for purchase and Work Safe Alberta plans to post an online version on its website when it becomes available.
The program also includes a pocket-sized booklet called the “Work Safe Passport.” When a student or young worker completes a health and safety course in school, on the job, or at another training institution, they can record it in their Work Safe Passport. It is hoped that the passport will help make young workers marketable in the workforce by demonstrating to employers that they have some knowledge of how to work safely.
“Education is the best way to prevent injuries and suffering,” said Human Resources and Employment Minister Mike Cardinal. “The new Work Safe Alberta Passport will help employers and workers.”
Details of the Work Safe Alberta Joint Education Project can be found at http://www.hre.gov.ab.ca/cps/rde/xchg/hre/hs.xsl/3133.html.