August 1, 2006
Panel seeks ways to prevent injuries, deaths among youth entering the workforce
The Ontario government is turning to young people and experts for help in reducing injuries and deaths on the job among youth who go directly into the workforce from school.
“Serious and fatal injuries are most common among young people under 25 years old who go right to work after leaving school,” Labour Minister Steve Peters said.
“We have excellent prevention programs for those still in school, but we need to figure out how to reach the others. We must do more to create a culture of prevention.”
A Minister’s Action Group on Vulnerable Workers Under 25 has been established to help find new and innovative approaches to reduce workplace injuries and deaths in this hard-to-reach demographic group.
The action group is made up of young people, labour market experts, specialists and others involved in identifying issues and creating solutions for this vulnerable part of the workforce. Peters will chair the group.
Members include Brett McKenzie, director of membership development/marketing for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Construction Council of Ontario. The council represents 13 IBEW locals in the province. McKenzie was not immediately available for comment.
In a statement, Peters said the group will:
• Identify gaps in communication, knowledge or skills that may be a cause of workplace injuries and deaths among post-secondary youth.
• Find best practices for a co-ordinated strategy that can make workplaces safer for new, young and inexperienced workers.
• Suggest methods, strategies and processes to provide appropriate health and safety awareness and education to workers under the age of 25 who are outside of the education system.
Ontario has many excellent programs aimed at Ontario youth who are still in school, Peters said. For example, health and safety is part of the mandatory curriculum in grades 9 through 12 in Ontario.
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