Injured young worker wishes he’d trusted his gut

It’s really hard to watch — but so worth watching.

A powerful new video tells the story of a young worker who was badly injured in a restaurant kitchen. Matthew Bowcott was 19 when he slipped on a wet kitchen floor while carrying a big container of boiling cooking oil to a disposal bin.

He said that right before his accident, he had a mental image of it happening. Then he picked up the boiling oil anyway, slipped, and ended up with burns to 43 percent of his body. He describes the pain of his treatment, recovery, and daily feeling of regret.

“I kick myself every day for not trusting that gut feeling — for not listening to what my body was trying to tell me,” Matthew says in the video, which contains many graphic images and raw emotions. “I would go back to that employer and tell him ‘No, I won’t do it because it’s unsafe and I have rights.'”

Hearing his mom’s recollection really gave me a jolt and brought tears to my eyes. She and her son share the story to remind young workers that they have a right to a safe workplace and the right to refuse unsafe work. Matthew reminds young workers to listen to their gut instincts when it comes to safety at work and shares his message as part of WorkSafeBC’s Young Worker Speakers Program.


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