Safety questions for new workers to ask this winter season

Many students do seasonal work on winter break. They need answers to safety questions before and after they start. Here are some things they should know. 

Photo of a barista wearing a santa hat and standing beside a coffee machine

Photo credit: iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia

I had great fun with seasonal work on winter break back in my university days. It was at an ice rink, where I was the DJ. I sat in my booth, high above the ice, surrounded by cassette tapes (it was the late 1980s). I announced, through a super-echoey microphone, when it was time to switch direction, partner up, or get off the ice so the Zamboni could do its thing.

This winter break, today’s young people will be taking on seasonal work. They’re needed in retail, hospitality, recreation, and more. Lots of other people – not just young workers – are also looking for work.

Yet regardless of workers’ industry or age, they have a right to be safe at work. The holiday season can place heavy demands on an employer’s business, but workers’ safety is most important. Think how you would want employers to train your own kids (if you have any) or other young people in your lives.

Three basic health and safety rights of workers in B.C.

Please share the information below with young people you know. (Not as easy as it may sound! You may need to think how to make it enticing.) It’s from the brochure Getting a Job? Ask questions about safety.

Workers in B.C. have three basic health and safety rights:

1. The right to know about hazards in the workplace

2. The right to participate in health and safety activities in the workplace

3. The right to refuse unsafe work without being punished or fired

It can also be good to ask questions about safety during an interview. Here are a few examples from the brochure.

  • What safety training and orientation will I get before I start work?
  • What safety hazards does the job involve?
  • Will I be trained in how to prevent injuries?
  • What are my health and safety responsibilities?
  • If I’m injured at work, what’s the procedure?

Getting a Job? has lots more information, including suggestions on how to ask for help if you’re not sure how to do something safely.

If you have any good stories about seasonal work during your own “younger years,” please do tell! (I really would like more comments!)

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