Parents need to push for workplace safety

Parents need to do more to ensure the company their kids work for is safe, but they don’t need to know that company’s safety record, says…

Parents need to do more to ensure the company their kids work for is safe, but they don’t need to know that company’s safety record, says a labour official.

Parents need to be proactive in workplace safety, said Doug Rody, the director of planning and policy for the Yukon Federation of Labour.

Children are inexperienced and will often willingly put themselves into potentially dangerous situations because they want to please their employers. Therefore, parents need to check with their children’s bosses to make sure they’re being trained properly, said Rody.

“What are parents doing to ensure their children are getting the proper safety training?”

Rody’s comments were made during a news conference held by the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board on Friday.

At that conference, the safety board announced that 39 of 52 industries were having their assessment rates raised due to rising injury claims costs.

As of Friday, there were 1,804 reported workplace injuries in the territory.

Last year, the compensation board announced a record 1,984 injury reports, 13 per cent of the territory’s workforce.

At the beginning of this month, when young people made up about 18 per cent of reported injuries, the NDP’s Steve Cardiff said he was concerned about the safety of young people in the Yukon.

The government needs to change the law and require the names of the companies with the worst safety records to be made public, said Cardiff.

“It’s not unlike what’s happening when a retailer is caught selling tobacco to minors.

They have to put an ad in the paper saying they did it and are not allowed to sell tobacco.”

The Yukon Federation of Labour disagrees, said Rody.

Naming the worst companies could lead to injured workers being identified, said Rody.

“That’s a slippery slope.”

The board has no intention on naming the companies with the worst safety records, said Craig Tuton, chair of the workers’ compensation board.

“We have chosen to take a different approach; we want to work with employers,” said Tuton.

“If at the end of the day it doesn’t work, we’ll take a different path.”

The board is not sure at what point different options will be considered or what those options will be, said Tuton.

“We haven’t put a timeline on that, but we’ll know when that time comes.”

The board would rather be co-operative with business.

Measures such as having members of the board’s occupational health and safety branch recommend safety changes is a better way to go, said Tuton.

Occupational health and safety works to help make businesses safer, said the branch’s director, Kurt Dieckmann.

But, if parents are concerned, they have a number of options, said Dieckmann.

Parents can check to see if their children’s company has a Certificate of Recognition, which is awarded to companies that have proven safety measures in place, he said.

“Parents can (also) ask what safety measures are in place.”