"Our Youth at Work" Partners with Ontario High Schools

    TORONTO, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - The Power Workers' Union is very proud to
support Our Youth at Work (OYAW) and its latest initiative designed to inform
youth, parents and employers of the dangers young workers face when they first
enter the workplace.
    The founder of Our Youth at Work, Rob Ellis, lost his son David to an
industrial accident in 1999. It was David's second day on the job - he was
eighteen years old. Since that day, Rob has worked tirelessly to reduce the
astounding numbers of young people hurt or killed at work.
    In 2006 there were over 47,000 young workers between the ages of 15 and
24 that were reported injured at their jobs. This statistic is unacceptable to
every Ontario resident.
    With the assistance of the Power Workers' Union, Hydro One, Ontario Power
Generation and Bruce Power, OYAW will distribute a 30-second Workplace Safety
DVD to high schools across Ontario. The powerful message contained in the DVD
can be utilized in co-operative class settings prior to a job placement. It is
a catalyst for discussion of every student's rights and responsibilities on
the job.
    The Baby Boomer workforce is retiring at an unprecedented rate. Many
employers have left the hiring and training of a replacement workforce for too
long and are now in a rush to qualify new employees. Many employers' training
programs have been stagnant for ten years or more and are out of date with
today's technology. So, along with actual hiring, the development of quality,
up-to-date training and mentoring programs is critical to the safety of this
wave of new employees and critical to the success of the companies involved.
    The truth is that almost every job, in almost every walk of life, has
serious hazards and if these hazards are not eliminated or controlled
effectively there is danger of injury or worse.
    Training is critical to performing work safely. If workers do not know
exactly what the potential hazards are and exactly how to eliminate or control
those hazards they are in danger. If workers do not fully understand the work
they will be performing and understand how to eliminate their exposure to
injury they are in danger.

    Here are some tips for new and prospective employees.

    1.  Find out what your rights are related to your health and safety under
        the law.
    2.  Find out as much as you can about the prospective job duties before
        your interview.
    3.  Find out as much as you can about the safety performance of your
        prospective employer (use your ingenuity).
    4.  Ask probing, well-crafted questions related to your prospective
        employer's safety programs and skill training programs at your
    5.  Never be afraid to ask questions - the stakes are too high.
    6.  Never assume that "if it wasn't safe, they wouldn't ask me to do it".
    7.  If you're not sure it's safe, don't do it.

    There will be tremendous opportunities for young people in the job market
over the next decade but there is no job rewarding enough to make workplace
accidents, injuries or death acceptable.
    Partnerships will continue to strengthen education, and make it the
cornerstone of innovation, progress and safety in the province of Ontario. It
is the Power Workers' honour and pleasure to support the tremendous efforts of
all school staff in educating our future leaders across the Province of
    A media launch will be held at St. Francis Xavier Secondary School in
Mississauga on Thursday, September 27th at 10:30 am. Participants will include
Don MacKinnon, President of the Power Workers' Union, Duncan Hawthorne,
President and CEO of Bruce Power, Jim Hankinson, President and CEO of Ontario
Power Generation, Laura Formusa, President and CEO of Hydro One and Tom
Beegan, Chief Prevention Officer, Workplace Safety Insurance Board.

    The Power Workers' Union (PWU) represents the large majority of workers
in Ontario's electricity generation and transmission/distribution industry.

For further information:

For further information: Tonique Harry, Media Profile, (416) 504-8464,

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