On-Site Magazine

Hiring plans spark concerns about young worker safety

By Adam Freill   

Construction Health & Safety

Threads of Life survey shows that many businesses lack a safety training program for new employees.

According to a recent survey, a majority of businesses in Canada plan to hire as many or more young workers than they have in the past two years, but a lack of emergency and safety training is cause for concern says Threads of Life, a non-profit organization that supports families dealing with workplace injuries and death.

Based on information gathered by the Angus Reid Forum on behalf of Threads of Life, 69 per cent of employers have an orientation program for new employees, but only half have a safety program, and 19 per cent don’t have an emergency or safety training program at all.

“It was reassuring to see that many of the employers have an orientation program for new employees, and more than half have a safety program,” observed Shirley Hickman, executive director of the organization. “But we worry about the safety of young people working for businesses that do not have safety programs — and particularly the 19 per cent of employers who reported no orientation, onboarding, emergency or safety training in place for new employees.”

Roughly three-quarters of the businesses that responded to the survey either have young workers on staff or plan to hire young workers in 2022, with 27 per cent of companies in high-risk sectors, which includes construction, plan to hire more young workers than in the previous two years.


“We are not safety experts, but because of their own experience with tragedy, our members have an intense personal interest in workplace health and safety. We are deeply committed to preventing future tragedies,” explains Hickman, who lost her own son in an explosion at the arena he worked at in London, Ont. “We want employers, young workers and their parents to understand the risks they face when starting a new job and their rights and responsibilities for safety and health.”

Threads of Life is holding a series of Steps for Life events across Canada, including the Walking for Families of Workplace Tragedy Toronto five kilometre fundraising walk this coming Sunday at Coronation Park, 711 Lake Shore Blvd W, in Toronto. Registration opens at 10 a.m.

Dates and locations for other Steps for Life events across Canada can be found here.





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