On the boards at the Canada Games Centre ice rink, there’s an interesting Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board advertisement.
“Is your child safe at work?” it reads. “Think about it.”
Interesting ad, that.
Interesting because, thanks to the health and safety board, all parents can do is think (or fret) about whether their children are safe at work.
The compensation board refuses to release the names of local businesses that have poor safety records. Businesses that are, therefore, very dangerous places to work.
The issue was first raised in September, which is when the board hosted a Back-to-Work Symposium in Whitehorse.
There, it was revealed that 239 injured workers in the territory were younger than 25. The number represented a 20 per cent increase in injuries in that age group.
At the time, there had been more than 1,400 injuries in the territory this year.
Today, a little more than a month later, the number of workplace injuries is closing on 1,700.
In this market, the danger to youth is great.
They are less experienced and are trying harder to make a name for themselves at their jobs. Toss them in with a cavalier employer, or one looking to cut corners and save money, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
The accident rate in the territory is very high. But it’s a particularly dangerous place for the young to work. The health and safety board’s own statistics back that up.
It is so dangerous, in fact, that Alex Furlong, president of the Yukon Federation of Labour, refuses to let his daughter work in the territory.
In the interest of protecting workers, BC has started naming employers with poor safety records.
That gives employees, or their parents, the chance to ask questions and assess whether it’s safe to work for the company.
The Yukon won’t publicize such information.
The territory is too small a jurisdiction to do that, said Craig Tuton, chair of the Yukon’s compensation board.
Instead, the board is looking at teaching safety in school. It wants to establish a certification program. And it wants children better trained.
But those are long-term projects.
This year, in a market hungry for workers, injuries among the 25-and-under crowd are skyrocketing.
“Is your child safe at work?”
Rather than listing the names of employers with poor safety records — giving parents a tool to assess their child’s safety in the workplace — the compensation, health and safety board is content to pay for ads at the rink.
Think about it. (RM)