Video: Safety leaders inspire students in trades program

This video shows how two occupational safety officers inspire and educate students in the Women in Trades Training program at Okanagan College. 

Photo of women in trades course

Photo credit: WorkSafeBC/Khalid Hawe

“They were women in trades before it was very friendly for women in trades.”

Now they’re occupational safety officers at WorkSafeBC, inspiring and helping to educate students in the Women in Trades Training program at Okanagan College. The opening comment, above, is from program administrator Nancy Darling. She and her team at Okanagan are working to increase the number of female apprentices in B.C. and address some of the barriers to women entering skilled trades.

The two officers talk about sharing their own experiences of working in trades with students, and about the reasons they are so passionate about providing health and safety information on subjects like bullying and harassment, and hazards faced by young and new workers — who tend to be more at risk than workers in other age groups due to inexperience, inadequate training, and uncertainty about their rights and responsibilities. The officers want to help make sure the students know how to keep themselves and others safe on the job.

“Be the one to step forward”

The moment in this video that stood out most for me was when a student talks about being the one to speak up when you see unsafe work. This takes courage, especially for young people, who often want to please their employer and not make waves. All workers, but especially those who are young or new to the job, need to know that standing up for safety is more important than obeying the boss.

“Maybe everyone else in the work crew is feeling unsafe about it too, so you can be the one to step forward and say ‘This is an unsafe act,’” says the student.

The video is less than 5 minutes long and well worth a watch.

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