When we hear of the death or injury of a young worker, we all feel that loss deeply. So much potential is lost, and even if we haven’t experienced such a tragedy personally, we can imagine the grief and disruption for that family. Yet we know that workers under 25 continue to be at particular risk on the job. At this time of year, when many students and graduates enter the workforce for first or temporary jobs, it’s vital that we focus on young worker safety.
There's nothing 'normal' about this
After her son Jeremy was killed on the job, people kept talking to Elisa about her ‘new normal’ and she couldn’t stand it. “There’s nothing normal about your 21-year-old son being killed at his summer job,” she says. 

It’s not normal, but it’s all too common. Jeremy was helping to set up an event tent for a wedding when he was electrocuted. He was working with little training and no direct supervision. How can these types of tragedies keep happening? Please, if you are a parent or a supervisor of a young worker, read Elisa’s story and think about how to keep YOUR young worker safe this summer. 
Resources for your young worker safety program
If you employ young or new workers, a strong orientation and supervision program is a must. Maybe Threads of Life can help a little. 

Read about the young worker program Dexterra, one of our partner organizations, has in place -- find it in the Spring 2020 issue of our print newsletter (p.9)

Incorporate a true story into your training and orientation for young workers. Read Jeremy’s story or one of the stories from the young-worker-focused newsletter (Spring 2020).

Or even better, arrange a Threads of Life speaker to share his or her story with your workforce, or with your summer employees, virtually or in person if restrictions permit. Here are just a few examples: 

  • Alex’s brother Kris was a welder. He was inside a diesel tank on a truck, removing a baffle, when there was an explosion and he was killed. Alex and Kris were best buddies, so Alex talks about the devastating impact of his big brother’s death. His message focuses on the importance of asking questions when you’re not sure of a task.

  • David and a co-worker, both 16, were finishing their shift at a resort and used the staff golf cart to deliver garbage to the dumpster. Unsupervised, they went for a joy-ride in the dark and David accidentally fell out. The driver couldn’t stop in time and hit David, breaking his back. He was instantly paralyzed from the waist down. David was told he would probably never walk again, but he persevered and within ten months was walking without assistance. Today, despite chronic pain and reduced mobility, David works full-time and volunteers as much as he can in the community.

  • Elaine’s son Adam was only in the first week of his grade 12 co-op placement at an auto recycler’s facility. While picking up tire rims around the auto yard, Adam was struck and killed by a front-end loader. He died from severe head injuries. Elaine is a nurse who discusses the impact Adam’s death had on their family.
Everyone's a winner
Steps for Life exceeded all our expectations this year. Through fundraising, donations and sponsorship, you broke through the top of the fundraising thermometer, and came up with dozens of creative ways to participate and engage others. Our Team Challenge competitors broke records too! Read here for the winners of this year’s Challenge. Thank you to everyone for your contributions, whether you’re on this winner’s list or not. We know you don’t do it for the recognition. The funds raised will help many new families who come to Threads of Life in need of support, and the awareness raised will help prevent more tragedies in the future. So everyone wins.
ICYMI: On the blog
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