Tips for young workers


The minimum age of employment in Saskatchewan is 16. Youths aged 14 or 15 can work but must complete the Young Worker Readiness Certificate course and obtain a certificate of completion before beginning a job. The certificate, along with written consent from a parent or guardian, must be provided to the employer and kept on file.

Youths aged 14 or 15 also cannot work:

  • more than 16 hours a week when school is in session
  • after 10 p.m. on a day before school
  • before classes start on any school day

These rules do not apply during school breaks (such as Christmas or Easter) and summer vacation. During breaks and vacations, youths aged 14 or 15 can work the same hours as other employees.

For more information, visit Saskatchewan Young Worker Readiness Certificate course.

In Saskatchewan, Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996 s.14(1,2) states there are industries where youth can and cannot work.

People under 18 years of age cannot work:

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

People under 16 years of age 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
  • in power line construction or maintenance

Everyone in the workplace is legally responsible for workplace safety. Before you start a new job, you should know about health and safety standards in the workplace. By law, you have three basic rights under the Saskatchewan Employment Act


1. The right to know what hazards are present in the workplace.
Example:

It’s your first day as a server at one of your favourite restaurants. Before you start work, your employer needs to give you the right information to do your job safely.

All new workers must have a workplace training session. You learn how to safely handle the soft drink dispensers because they use compressed air cylinders. You also learn how to use and clean the deep fryers without getting hurt, and how to prevent strains, sprains and back injuries.

As a new employee, your first shift is all about learning what to do and how to do it safely.


2. The right to participate in keeping your workplace healthy and safe.
Example:

You’ve been working at a grocery store for over a year. There is one set of swinging doors that act as an entrance and exit to the storage area at the back of the store.

You have seen a few incidents where workers who use these doors at the same time bump into each other and the door hits one of the workers. Luckily, no one has been badly injured, but you have some ideas about how to make these doors safer. The first would be to add windows so workers can see oncoming traffic. The second would be putting up signs that say workers must enter through one door and exit through the other.

You brought these ideas to both your supervisor and the occupational health committee (OHC). Everyone agreed that these doors were an issue and your suggestions were approved. The changes were made to make the doors safer for everyone.

You have a right to bring up ongoing issues or safety ideas to both your manager and/or your OHC. The right to participate is about improving the safety of your workplace for everyone.

3. The right to refuse work that you believe to be unusually dangerous to yourself and your co-workers.

Example:

You have been working at a personal care home for three years. You spend most of your time helping patients but spend a few extra hours a week cleaning and helping with small maintenance tasks.

There’s a large sign outside that’s usually lit up, but it’s not working. You’ve been asked to fix it. Although you aren’t comfortable doing this, you agree to give it a try. That is until you see the ladder is broken and remember you have no electrical training.

You decide to talk to your supervisor and let them know you aren’t comfortable doing this task – the ladder is broken and you aren’t trained to work with electricity. The supervisor understands your concerns and decides to call a company to come and fix the light.

Unfortunately, too often workers decide not to speak up when they are uncomfortable with a task and injuries or fatalities occur.
It is important to speak up!

 

You also have responsibilities in the workplace:

  1. The responsibility to work safely using all machinery and equipment in the way you were trained.
  2. The responsibility to report health and safety concerns, including unsafe activities and conditions, to your supervisor. Ask questions if you 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 you.
  4. The responsibility to protect yourself and others from harm as much as possible and to not harass others at work.

Remember to always wear safety gear. It’s the law!

  • Will I be trained enough to do my job safely?
  • Can I recognize possible hazards?
  • Do I know my rights and responsibilities?
  • Could a workplace incident disfigure me or cost me my life?
  • Learn to do the job safely. Ask yourself, “Am I in any danger?”
  • Think the job through. Know what to do when there is an injury or emergency situation.
  • Ask, ask, ask – there are no stupid questions.
  • Get help, especially if you have to lift something heavy.
  • Wear the gear. Find out what to wear to protect yourself. Learn how to wear it and how to maintain it.
  • Inform your supervisor if you see anything unsafe that may hurt you or someone else.
  • Discuss concerns you cannot resolve with your supervisor and with the workplace’s occupational health committee (OHC) or worker health and safety representative.
  • Report injuries – if you get hurt, tell your supervisor. See a doctor and report your injury to the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) online at wcbsask.com or at 1.800.787.9288.
  • Talk to your family about your job. Sometimes they know something you might not.

Remember there is no such thing as a stupid question. If you are unsure, ask.

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible and report the incident to your employer.
  • Fill out a Worker’s Report of Injury Form (W1) and send it to the Workers’ Compensation Board. The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 sets out the rules for providing workers and their dependents with financial protection, medical benefits and rehabilitation services in cases of work-related injury, illness or death.

Employment standards are in part two of the Saskatchewan Employment Act. Employment standards set minimum wages, hours of work, public holiday pay and vacations.

A few things to remember:

  1. Ask your employer for information about wages and working conditions before you accept a job.
  2. Make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities and how to address concerns.
  3. Politely discuss concerns with your supervisor. Be diplomatic and use positive problem-solving techniques.
  4. Keep your payment statements and records of the hours you work. These records may help clear up disagreements
  5. If you have any questions or would like to make a complaint, contact Employment Standards at 1.800.667.1783 or visit Saskatchewan Employment Standards.

For more information:

To understand your OHS responsibilities and to orient and train young workers, visit Saskatchewan Safety in the Workplace or call 1.800.567.7233.

For information on employment standards, visit Saskatchewan Employment Standards or call 1.800.667.1783.

For compensation and prevention information for employers, go to the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board at wcbsask.com or call 1.800.667.7590. You can also visit the Employer Resource Centre (ERC) or contact the ERC at ERC@wcbsask.com or 1.833.961.0042