Highlighting workplace safety in B.C. students’ career education

B.C.’s high school curricula is taking a new view of career education. To reflect the changes, WorkSafeBC updated its Student WorkSafe program for teachers. 

Photo of a group of high school students talking by lockers

Photo credit: iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

B.C. teachers and students are taking a new approach to career education this year. They are using a new curriculum that allows students to focus more on their own unique goals and interests. It’s a more-personalized approach that includes digital portfolios, career/life planning software, and self-paced work online. Planning 10 has been replaced by two new courses: Career-life Education and Career-life Connections.

Given these changes, making sure students prioritize workplace health and safety is as important as ever. It’s also a good opportunity to highlight WorkSafeBC’s Student WorkSafe 10–12 program. The teacher’s guide has been updated to reflect B.C.’s new career course names. Teachers can use its modules with full classes, smaller groups, and individuals. Students can use its independent learning guide with links to workplace safety tools and resources.

Reaching young workers before they start their first jobs

Reaching young workers – even before they start their first jobs – is essential. That’s because this age group (15 to 24) is more vulnerable to injury at work than other age groups. According to WorkSafeBC’s Listen to Your Gut campaign, on average, 18 young workers are injured every day in B.C. and 14 sustain a serious injury every week.

I contacted WorkSafeBC industry specialist Helen Chandler to ask why it’s important to reach young people as early as possible.

“I think the earlier we start with kids, the more likely it’s going to change the culture of health and safety eventually,” says Helen. “They’re going to be the future bosses, supervisors, and managers. If they think of it as just a normal course of business to have a safe workplace and to train their employees and get the correct training, then we’re going to change the culture.”

More workplace health and safety resources for teachers

Some teachers show students student safety video contest entries from past years. Says Helen: “Past videos are a great resource for teachers. It’s quick, it’s easy, and the videos are made by students’ peers.”

The Young Worker Speakers Program is another great resource for teachers and students, Helen says. It often leaves a lasting impression with students to hear the stories of guest speakers who were injured at work. For example, I wrote about Mike Lovett, a public speaker who talks about his serious accident in a sawmill when he was 18. Read about it in my post Sharing safety message via mountain road and webinar.

Visit worksafebc.com for more information and resources on young and new workers. For more about the new curriculum in B.C., see the B.C. Ministry of Education website.

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