By Victoria Alvarez
Do you feel safe in your work environment? Are you aware of your workplace’s safety policies?
According to Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety annual report [PDF], 476 claims are made per day regarding occupational injuries and illnesses. Though workplace fatalities have decreased since 2006, when 245 workplace-related fatalities were reported, the ever-present need to keep the workplace health and safety dialogue open is crucial.
That’s why the YMCA provides regular health and safety workshops for job seekers across the GTA. Sasha Belan-Hudson attended a recent workshop at the Richmond Hill Bayview YMCA Employment Centre, and learned about how to be safer on the job. “We watched videos of different circumstances,” Sasha says. “Some included people who were in an accident, where they were unaware prior. They also showed us the before, during and after of an accident, and focused on what could happen. The videos also explored accountability, and both the employee and employer’s role in these accidents.”
Despite positive trends in the overall numbers, workplace policies and advisories can still be overlooked or not reinforced, especially in a seemingly low risk environment. The need for these same polices and advisories, though, remains fundamental — as does an ongoing effort to educate employees about how they can self-advocate for their own safety. “Workplace rights was a major focus of the workshop,” Sasha says. “As an employee, I learned that you can ask questions, and it’s your right to be in an environment that is safe and secure. Something as simple as items on a high shelf can lead to an accident. It’s your right to ask for alternative methods, should you need them, to do your job safely.”
For details about upcoming health and safety workshops at a YMCA near you, check out our monthly workshop calendars. If you don’t see one at a YMCA location near you, please call the centre for further details.