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Does Workplace health and safety start at home? It should.

This blog is dedicated to building a culture of health and safety in the workplace. We’ve written extensively about engaging in critical conversations and creating environments where people feel safe to ask questions and raise concerns. Still, we haven’t talked about starting these conversations at home.

More than 1.5 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are employed in Ontario workplaces. Are any of them your children, relatives or friends? If so, are you talking to them about staying healthy and safe on the job?

In February, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services launched First Job. Safe Job, a blog dedicated to ensuring workers – young and old – arrive home safe at the end of the workday. 

It is written for parents, caregivers, and anyone else who is interested in keeping a young person safe on the job and is already chock-full of posts to spur conversations, including:

  • Talking to kids about safety

  • Does your kid feel uncomfortable at work? How to spot the warning signs

  • Does your teen work alone? Share these 9 safety tips to keep them safe on the job

  • Your kid just started a new job. But is their workplace safe? Here are 3 questions to ask

  • Young people can burn out too. Here’s how to help your kid balance work, life and school

Mark Lavaway, Director, Labour Relations and Business Development at Mirvish Productions and member of the Television, Film and Live Performance Advisory Committee, has started sharing the blog link with peers. “This is a great site. I’m looking through it now and it’s clean, to the point and full of really good advice. I will be passing this along to those I think can benefit from it.”

One post, “Just Say No: Empowering Your Kid to Refuse Unsafe Work,” raises important questions like: Would your kid recognize unsafe work? Do they know what is needed to stay healthy and safe in their role? And would they feel confident raising their concerns or refusing work?

Not all leaders are as committed to creating healthy and safe workplaces as you are. And it is easy to assume that your kid “gets it” because they’re your kid; however, when they are on their own in the workplace, they may feel reticent to ask questions or refuse work for fear of losing income, falling out of favour with their employer, or dread being embarrassed in front of co-workers.

Be a safe ear and a source of confidence

Statistics show that young workers are more likely to get injured or killed on the job compared to experienced coworkers. Forty percent of all injuries happen within six months of starting a new position. 

According to the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB), Between 2012 and 2021, 98 young workers, under the age of 25, died in Ontario as a result of a work-related accident. In 2022, close to 35,000 young workers were injured on the job.

If we normalize safety conversations at home and ensure our kids feel safe coming to us, we can reduce these numbers.

No matter how effective you are as a leader and communicator at work, it can be challenging talking to your teen about many things, let alone safety. In a post called “It won’t happen to me: How to get your kid to take workplace safety seriously,” author Colleen Christison provides several tips, including encouraging open communication and letting your kid know they can come to you about anything and won’t be in trouble. She also suggests you tell them you won’t act unless they want you to.

Kids will tune out lecturing or stop coming to you if you embarrass them or tread on their independence. However, if you provide a safe ear and don’t jump to solutioning you can be the voice of reason in their head and a source of confidence when they aren’t with you.

We can pass on a different legacy

Young people are always making plans -- for their time after work, the weekend, the summer, etc. First Job. Safe Job provides actionable tips that you can use to help them stay safe and turn those plans into reality.

And it provides an opportunity to pass on a different legacy when engaging in critical conversations about safety at work. In the beloved parenting book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, authors Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish note, “We want to break the cycle of unhelpful talk that has been handed down from generation to generation, and pass on a different legacy to our children – a way of communicating that they can use for the rest of their lives, with their friends, their co-workers, their parents, their mates, and one day with children of their own.”

Get to know the authors – Fresh Communications