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Young worker injuries declining in Nova Scotia: WCB

But board acknowledges there is still work to be done
| www.cos-mag.com

As the school year has come to a close, more young people are entering the workforce with summer jobs. For this reason, the Department of Labour and Advanced Education and WCB Nova Scotia are encouraging workers and employers to make workplace safety a priority.

WCB Nova Scotia reports that more than 40 per cent of all injuries for workers between the ages of 15 and 24 happen between June and September. In the past five years, there have been three young worker fatalities in the province.

“Everyone has a role to play when it comes to creating a safety culture — from parents, to employers, to workers,” said WCB Nova Scotia CEO Stuart MacLean. “Young workers are invaluable members of our workforce and the future of this province. Employers need to ensure all workers receive adequate safety training and understand their rights and responsibilities.”

Last year, of the 23,952 workers injured in Nova Scotia WCB-covered workplaces, 3,179 were young workers and 527 of them were hurt seriously enough to need three days or more off work. While this number has steadily decreased from 647 in 2015, progress still must be made.

In fact, 22 per cent of all young worker claims last year were from people under the age of 19. Also, young workers accounted for 8.9 per cent of all registered time loss claims in 2017, down from 9.6 per cent in 2016 — which is good news.

Youth are most often hurt working in the retail and hospitality areas, and frequently hurt in manufacturing and construction. Being struck by an object and overexertion are the two most common causes of injury in young workers.

“Parents need to keep the conversation going at home, and I encourage workers to ask questions and make sure they only do something if they can do it safely,” MacLean said. 

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