Educating young workers is our mission, and there’s a good reason why: these workers are still the most likely to get hurt at work. Youth aged 15-24 are entering the workforce with little to no safety education, and the most current statistics from the Government of Alberta(GOA) are showing that this is having a very negative impact on not only these young adults, but also the companies that employ them.
Latest statistics – 2019
According to the most recent information published by the GOA (2019), there are fewer youth workers than in previous years, but even more workplace injuries affecting this age group. While disabling injury claims have had an overall decrease, the number for youth has sadly risen.
Young workers represent 12 percent of the Alberta labour force, yet had the highest disabling injury rate, with young males being most affected. Over 75 percent of these workers had to take time off work, and most likely, their day-to-day activities.
People often have the idea that most youth workplace injuries happen at trades jobs, but quite often this is not the case. Most of the documented injuries in 2019 occurred at restaurants, food stores, convenience stores and auto dealers.
The three main types of injuries affecting youth are:
- Overexertion (e.g.: pushing, pulling, jumping, or performing the same tasks for a long period of time)
- Being hit by an object
- Sprains, strains and wounds
Why are youth more affected?
Young workers are more likely to get injured on the job for the following reasons:
- Lack of experience
- Willingness to “do what they’re told” without questioning personal safety
- Invincibility mindset
- Reluctance to report dangerous situations
- Fear of being fired
- Lack of onsite safety training
- Lack of health and safety awareness and education
How can we reduce these numbers?
Encouraging young adults and adolescents to educate and empower themselves about workplace health and safety education can drastically reduce the number of injuries that affect this age group. If youth are aware of not only on-site hazards and how to avoid and report them, as well as their rights and responsibilities as workers, they are more likely to return home uninjured, and help colleagues stay safe as well.
Making workplace safety education a priority for youth will result in less:
- lost-time claims
- disabling injuries (including from psychosocial hazards)
This overall reduction in incidents would lead to a safer, healthier generation of workers, as well as a thriving provincial workforce.
Are you an employer that hires young workers, a parent of teens, or an educator that teaches youth aged 15-24? Learn more about our free JobSafe Program, and help youth get home safely – no job is worth an injury or a life
Source: Workplace Injury, Illness and Fatality Statistics: Provincial Summary 2019