Can you inspire your peers to work more safely in 25 words or less?
That’s the challenge for BC youth (13+) who want to become Raise Your Hand Champions in this contest that runs until August 31, 2011. One lucky entrant will win an Xbox Kinect prize package.
Participants get bonus entries (up to 20) when people “Like” their stories on Facebook. Their question: how did you raise your hand for safety at work?
The young worker experience
When I was a young worker at my first job, I cut my finger instead of raising my hand.
It was at a restaurant where my job was to clear tables and carry dirty dishes to the kitchen. One day a cook asked me to cut lemons with a knife that was much bigger and sharper than anything I’d ever seen in my family’s kitchen. I was scared to use it but I wanted to be helpful and didn’t want to “look stupid” so I ignored my own instincts, and cut a few slices of the lemon that wobbled precariously on the table. Within a moment, I’d sliced my finger and was headed for the ER where I got six stitches. Thankfully it wasn’t much worse.
This eagerness to please and fear to ask questions is the reason so many young people are injured and even killed at work. Here in BC, nearly 10,000 workers between 15 and 24 are injured at work each year. Most of the time, it happens during the worker’s first six months on the job.
The Raise Your Hand campaign
WorkSafeBC launched its Raise Your Hand campaign in 2007 and asked young workers to raise their hands and pledge to work safely. They spread the word through unconventional media using a retro 70s style – colourful raised hands on sidewalk stencils, posters, vans and city buses. They visited universities, festivals, and communities throughout BC.
The basic message is: you have the right to know how to do the job safely, the right to speak up if you feel unsafe, and the right to refuse unsafe work.
“As the movement continued to build, young workers started to share their stories about workplace safety,” reads the Raise Your Hand website. “Over 2,400 stories were submitted.”
If you have any young workers in your life, please tell them about the contest, and share these resources.
Your teen at work: tips for parents
From Ontario’s Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA)