Live Safe! Work Smart!

eNewsletter for Ontario Teachers • December 2016

It’s Your Job….Start the Conversation!

The It’s Your Job student video contest is back for 2016/17! It’s Your Job challenges Ontario’s secondary school students to create an original video no longer than two minutes in length that can be used in social media to show the importance of working safely on the job. This year’s optional theme, Start the Conversation, gives students the opportunity to create a video showcasing:

  • How to communicate with peers – at school, at work, or any other setting – about the importance of working safely on the job,
  • A message to peers to raise awareness about workplace safety, or
  • Any other health and safety messages students wish to convey.

Videos will be judged on creativity, impact and persuasiveness, overall presentation of workplace information and technical quality.

The first, second and third place teams will be awarded with cash prizes (up to $2,000!), which are jointly funded by the Ministry of Labour and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Each winning secondary school will receive a matching prize equal to the total prize awarded to the winning student or team of students.

Students can submit videos until the contest closes on March 3, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Please visit the It's Your Job webpage to learn more!

Spark the discussion

New and young workers in Ontario are three times more likely to be injured during their first month on the job than at any other time.

As we approach the holiday season, young workers across Ontario will be looking for seasonal employment. The best way to help prepare young workers is to educate them on their employment standards and occupational health and safety rights.

Similar to the It’s Your Job video contest theme of "Start the Conversation," we encourage parents and teachers to talk to their kids and students about workplace safety.

Spark the discussion by using these tips:

  • Have a two-way conversation. Don’t let your fear be the focus or reason for discussing safety. Have a two-way conversation and let them feel responsible for their own health and safety.
  • Remind them that no job or amount of money is worth the risk of injury. Tell them that other job opportunities will come along, but being safe at work should always be their number one priority.
  • See how much they know about the job. Ask specific questions about what potential hazards they may face on the job and if they know who to speak up to about any concerns they may have.
  • Spot fatigue. Do they look tired from work or social activities over the holidays? Remind them that lack of rest can create stress and fatigue, leading to increased risk of injury at work.

Make sure your students know that, as workers, they have three basic rights under the Occupational Health and Safety Act:

  • The right to participate in the process of identifying and resolving health and safety concerns
  • The right to know about any hazards to which they may be exposed
  • The right to refuse work that they believe is dangerous

They should also be aware that the Act prohibits employers from punishing them if they exercise these rights. They can learn more by completing Worker Health and Safety Awareness in 4 Steps.

To read more, check out the Live Safe! Work Smart! Parent Guide to Talking about Workplace Safety (PDF).

Young workers blitz results

From May 2 to June 30, 2016, Ministry of Labour employment standards officers conducted a blitz focusing on young workers.

The goal of the blitz was to educate employers and promote compliance with the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) in sectors that often employ young workers.

Workplaces visited included sectors known to employ young workers and where there has been a history of non-compliance, including food services and retail.

During the blitz, employment standards officers checked to see if employers were complying with core ESA standards. Of the 273 inspections that were conducted, 231 employers were found not compliant. The most common monetary violations were public holidays, overtime pay, and vacation pay. The most common non-monetary violations were vacation pay – written agreements, record-keeping, and hours of work. In total, officers issued 863 compliance tools during the young worker blitz and recovered over $276,000 for employees.

Visit the Ministry of Labour’s website for a complete report on the results of the young worker blitz.

Did you know?

The Ministry of Labour website has a variety of resources that young workers can use to make sure they are treated fairly under the Act. Check out some of the tools (e.g. Public Holiday Pay Calculator and Hours of Work and Overtime Tool) and videos available (e.g. Illegal Deductions from Wages) by visiting our Young Workers page.

Raise awareness on young worker safety in your school

Check out these organizations that offer guest speakers to reinforce key health and safety messages - perfect for a school assembly or classroom.

Workplace Safety Prevention Services

Workplace Safety Prevention Services (WSPS) offers free health and safety awareness presentations to students, new immigrants and vulnerable workers. These provide the important information your students need to ensure their health and safety on the job. The sessions are delivered by trained WSPS volunteers and can be presented to classrooms of any size including general assemblies. Visit the WSPS website for more information.

Threads of Life

The Threads of Life Speakers Bureau is comprised of people who have been impacted by a workplace fatality, life-altering injury or occupational illness. These volunteer speakers are parents, spouses, and friends whose personal testimonies are a powerful and effective way to change attitudes and perceptions about health and safety. The volunteers dedicate their time to sharing their personal story to audiences in workplaces, at conferences and in schools. Visit the Threads of Life website for more information.

MySafeWork

MySafeWork offers school presentations across North America to raise awareness of workplace safety and connect students to employers who are committed to safety excellence. Visit the MySafeWork website for more information.

#Safe4Life results

In early 2016, the Ministry of Labour partnered with Parachute Leaders in Injury Prevention to launch the #safe4life campaign. This campaign used humour and satire to connect with young people on workplace safety in a meaningful way.

In addition to creating a central website, the campaign included online videos, blogs, podcasts, Twitter posts and other social media to share key messages with youth on workplace safety.

The campaign achieved significant reach across multiple media channels. For example, two #safe4life videos were posted on YouTube and viewed roughly 44,000 times during the course of the campaign, and various blog posts integrating #safe4life messaging reached approximately 10,000 viewers.

Ask your students how they can stay #safe4life at work. Encourage them to use social media in a positive way by creating a video, blog, or tweet using the hash tag #safe4life to share their own experiences and/or messages on what motivates them to be #safe4life.

Enter the PSHSA #studentchallenge and your students could WIN a paid internship!

The Public Services Health & Safety Association (PSHSA) is inviting Ontario post-secondary students to enter the Occupational Health and Safety for Young Workers Student Challenge.

Students are required to conceptualize innovative and creative solutions, resources or services for increasing safety awareness and reducing workplace injuries and illnesses among young workers. If you know a post-secondary student who is interested in health and safety and is looking to make a difference, encourage them to develop and send in their unique ideas to help address this important issue.

Students will have a chance to win a paid full-time internship at PSHSA, cash prizes and other great rewards!

The deadline to submit an application is January 31, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST. To learn more, please visit the PSHSA #studentchallenge website.