Engage Your Students!
1. Do you know someone who has been hurt in a workplace accident? Discuss how the accident changed your perspective on workplace safety.
2. “We can make Canada the world’s safest place to work – but it will take courage.” Do you think this statement is true? If you were placed in an unsafe work environment, how would your courage be challenged?
3. How do we balance being polite and respecting authority, with standing up for our workplace rights?
4. You have the right to refuse unsafe work. What does this mean? Why might refusing unsafe work be difficult or awkward?
5. “All accidents are preventable.” Discuss this statement. Do you think this is true? Do you think we could go a whole year with no workplace accidents in Canada?
6. Hundreds of thousands of young Canadians are injured every year at work. How can we share the message of Courageous with more people?
Scenario 1: Omar is saving up money to go on a road-trip with his friends. He needs $500 for the trip, but only has about $300 in his bank account. Omar remembers that his Aunt Victoria owns a pool cleaning business. He decides to ask his Aunt Victoria for a job, helping her clean pools around the neighborhood. Aunt Victoria agrees to pay Omar $200 cash for helping her clean pools on Monday and Tuesday. Omar agrees.
When Omar arrives to work on Monday morning, his Aunt Victoria says, “Don’t worry, this job is easy. Just watch what I’m doing and follow my instructions.” She then hands him an empty bucket and says, “Start by pouring the pool chemicals into this bucket.”
What should Omar do?
Hint 1: Even if your boss tells you that your job is easy and safe, you should always receive Orientation and Training before starting a new job, (just remember: “OT”). It doesn’t matter if you’re working for a family member, or if you’re only working for a few hours. Always demand OT — it’s your right!
Hint 2: Working for cash “under the table” is against the law. If you’re being paid in cash, it means that your boss isn’t paying for your workplace injury insurance. So, if you get hurt, you get no money and no support.
Scenario 2: Aubrey started a new job working part-time at a well-known coffee shop that also serves food. Last week, Aubrey burnt her arm when taking some food out of the oven. It really hurt for a few minutes, but eventually the pain went away. She asked Dan, one of her co-workers, if he had ever been burnt at work. He laughed and said, “Everyone gets burnt - look at my arms!” He rolled up his sleeves, revealing three red marks across his forearms. “You think I’m going to go cry to the boss?” Dan asked. “She’d fire me on the spot! And, plus, I need the money.” Aubrey is scared of getting burnt again, but she needs the money to help her parents pay the bills.
What should Aubrey do?
Hint 1: You have the right to refuse unsafe work. So, if you think your job is unsafe, you don’t have to do it — and it’s illegal for your boss to fire you or punish you in any way! Immediately tell your boss that you’re refusing unsafe work and explain why. If your boss doesn’t do anything about it, call your provincial labour organization and report them immediately.
Hint 2: No matter how minor, report injuries to your boss and tell your family. By law, your boss must report all workplace injuries to the government. If you have reason to believe that your boss isn’t reporting injuries, call your provincial labour organization and report them immediately.
At the age of 18, David Ellis was killed in a workplace accident. He was given limited training and no supervision. It was his second day on the job. After David's death, Rob Ellis started MySafeWork, a not-for-profit organization and registered charity.
Our mission is to prevent workers from getting injured and killed at work. Since 1999, we've reached millions of people with a simple message: don't work for a company that doesn't respect you. At the same time, we inspire companies to achieve greatness in safety culture.