In 2001, The Learning Partnership convened a committee of experts to conduct a study and advise on safety for participants in the Take Our Kids to Work program. The Learning Partnership was one of several participants in the study. The Expert Safety Panel members were drawn from organizations that are industrial partners of The Learning Partnership, and from organizations with acknowledged expertise in workplace safety and education. As stakeholders with a clear understanding of the history, goals and practices of the Take Our Kids to Work program, The Learning Partnership participated in this study because of our belief in the inherent value of the program and our belief that the program would be effectively strengthened as a result of the study.
Our meetings with the Expert Safety Panel generated 14 main recommendations, which are set out below. The Learning Partnership has implemented the recommendations of the Expert Safety Panel that apply to our organization. As stakeholders in the Take Our Kids to Work Program, we continue to be guided by all of the Expert Safety Panel’s recommendations and we encourage the workplaces with whom we partner to adopt the Expert Safety Panel recommendations applicable to their involvement in Take Our Kids to Work.
Continue to improve and enhance the Take Our Kids to Work program, with strengthened program elements relating to workplace health and safety.
Develop clearer information on health and safety in all Take Our Kids to Work materials, for every program audience—parents, teachers, students and workplaces.
Communicate the importance of health and safety through a variety of channels, to accommodate different learning styles.
Enlist workplace health and safety experts to review the content and context of all materials produced for the Take Our Kids to Work program.
Incorporate a safety theme into the program material during 2001, to coincide with Ontario’s implementation of “safety education” at the Grade 9 level, and enrich the program for subsequent years.
Post links from The Learning Partnership’s website to organizations with workplace health and safety expertise and material.
Use the opportunity provided by Occupational Health and Safety Week in May to communicate Take Our Kids to Work program health and safety messages.
Develop informed consent forms that contain workplace health and safety messaging, signed by students and parents.
Encourage all participants in the Take Our Kids to Work program to commit themselves to a safe day. Include on forms a section demonstrating that students have read and discussed materials on health and workplace safety before participating.
Begin Take Our Kids to Work day at each employer with mandatory workplace orientations that focus on health and safety issues relevant to that environment. Workplaces should use the expertise of their Health and Safety personnel to assist with the orientation if possible. Where appropriate, there should also be a student Health and Safety representative for the day.
Encourage program participants to adopt a zero tolerance policy for ignoring health and safety guidelines communicated in program material.
Supervise student participants all day while they are at the workplace site. The student supervisor should be a competent individual and there should be a set ratio of the number of students to each supervisor that is appropriate for each workplace.
Allow students to undertake only those tasks and experiences for which they have been properly oriented.
Encourage workplaces to create an environment where students feel free—in fact, encouraged—to speak about health and safety concerns, ask questions, and comment on situations they observed during the day. Workplaces should conduct an annual inspection prior to Take Our Kids to Work day with a view to Youth workplace safety.
Health Canada - www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety - www.ccohs.ca
WorkSmart Ontario - www.worksmartontario.gov.on.ca
WorkSafe BC - www.worksafebc.com
WorkSafe Saskatchewan - www.worksafesask.ca
Jeunes au travail : La commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail du Québec - www.csst.qc.ca
Live Safe! Work Smart! - www.livesafeworksmart.net
The Young Worker Awareness Program/Programme Sensibilisation des jeunes au travail - www.ywap.ca