Starting a job is a big event in a teenager’s life. Most young people want to get a job and earn money. However, they are inexperienced and often afraid to ask questions. Talk to your students about their rights and responsibilities on the job.

In Saskatchewan, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation states there are industries where young people can and cannot work.

People under 18 cannot work:

  • underground or in an open pit at a mine;
  • as a radiation worker;
  • in an asbestos process;
  • in a silica process; and
  • in any activity that requires the use of an atmosphere supplying respirator.

People under 16 cannot work:

  • on a construction site;
  • at a pulp mill, sawmill or woodworking establishment;
  • at a smelter, foundry, refinery or metal processing or fabricating operation;
  • in a confined space (such as a manhole);
  • in a meat, fish or poultry processing plant;
  • in a forestry or logging operation;
  • on a drilling service rig;
  • as an operator of powered mobile equipment (such as a forklift, crane or a hoist);
  • where there is exposure to chemical or biological substances that could endanger your health and safety; and
  • in power line construction or maintenance.

Everyone in the workplace is legally responsible for workplace safety. People have three basic rights under The Saskatchewan Employment Act:

  • The Right to Know what hazards are in the workplace and how to prevent injuries from those hazards.
  • The Right to Participate in health and safety activities in their workplace.
  • The Right to Refuse work they believe to be unusually dangerous to themselves or others.

Your students also have responsibilities in the workplace:

  1. The responsibility to work safely by using all machinery and equipment in the way they were trained.
  2. The responsibility to report health and safety concerns, including unsafe activities and conditions, to their supervisor and ask questions if they are unsure how to do something safely.
  3. The responsibility to properly use or wear protective devices and to not remove a guard or device designed to protect them.
  4. The responsibility to protect themselves and others from harm as much as possible and to not harass others at work.

They must wear safety gear. It’s the law!

  • Were safety orientation training and information on rules of the workplace provided by your boss?
  • Does your supervisor work in or near your work area?
  • Does your supervisor provide on-the-job performance feedback, including information and advice on how to work safely?
  • Do you report concerns to your supervisor? Do you feel comfortable in doing so?
  • What tasks do you normally perform at work?
  • Are your students coming to school tired because of work? A hurried cycle of full-time school, homework, social life and work, combined with a lack of rest, can create fatigue, leading to poor performance in school and increased risk of injury at work and while driving.
  • Do you have to climb or work at heights? Do you lift and carry heavy objects? If the answer is yes, ask how they were trained and what equipment they use to do these things safely.
  • Do you know what kind of protective equipment to wear and have you been trained to use it properly?
  • Do you work with chemicals? Have you received training in their proper use? WHMIS training must be provided to workers using chemicals. Ask if they know about labels and material safety data sheets.
  • Do you know what to do if you are injured at work?
  • It is important to report any injury to the supervisor and to the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board. Injuries can be reported by telephone at 1.800.787.9288 or online at www.wcbsask.com
  • Encourage them to ask about safety procedures when they go to a job interview.
  • Tell them they should expect to get safety training when they start a new job and should not be afraid to refuse a task if they feel they will not be safe.
  • Remind them that no job is worth an injury or worse. Fingers, eyes and life cannot be replaced.
  • Help prevent workplace injuries. Let your students know that it’s ok to say no to unsafe work.

Employment standards are in Part II of The Saskatchewan Employment Act. Employment standards set minimum rules wages, hours of work, public holiday pay, and vacations. To learn more about employment standards, visit http://saskatchewan.ca/business/employment-standards

To understand OHS responsibilities, visit http://saskatchewan.ca/business/safety-in-the-workplace or call 1.800.567.7233

For information on employment standards, visit – http://saskatchewan.ca/business/employment-standards or call 1.800.667.1783.

For compensation and prevention information, go to the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board wcbsask.com or call 1.800.667.7590