Young workers

Young workers

Health, safety and employment standards information for new and young workers, and for their employers, supervisors, parents and teachers.

Did you know that:

  • workers under the age of 25 are more likely to be injured on the job than older workers?
  • workers with less than 6 months’ experience are 3 times more likely to be injured than those with a year or more of experience?

Safety is Serious by Liam MacCosham. 1st place winner, 2017 High School Video Contest

Get the word out

Each year, high school students across Alberta make videos about workplace health and safety. They submit them to help spread the word about workplace health and safety and compete for prize money. Watch the winning videos and share them with your friends and coworkers.

Get informed

As you enter the working world, learn how to protect your health, safety and basic workplace rights. The questions below are a good place to start this important conversation with your boss.

Show Answer Know your responsibilities

What are my health and safety responsibilities?

Workers and employers have a shared responsibility to comply with OHS laws. OHS laws require you to work safely and co-operate with your employer by following specific health and safety rules for the job.

Some of your responsibilities are:

  • refusing dangerous work
  • reporting unsafe work conditions
  • knowing about actual and potential dangers in the workplace
  • asking for training if you need it
  • follow health and safety procedures

Learn more about worker responsibilities.

What are my boss' health and safety responsibilities?

Some of your boss' responsibilities are:

  • making sure you have the right training, qualifications and experience
  • letting you know all of the hazards
  • providing safety equipment

Learn more about employer responsibilities.

What other rights and responsibilities do workers and employers have?

Workers and employers also have responsibilities under the Employment Standards Code. Some of the areas covered under Employment Standards include:

  • payment of earnings
  • hours of work and overtime
  • vacations and general holidays
  • termination of employment

Some of the worker's responsibilities are:

  • coming to work when scheduled
  • following instructions at work (as long as that doesn't place you or a coworker in danger)
  • giving proper notice to end a job

Workers and employers should know that there are restrictions for workers under the age of 18:

  • people under the age of 16 are required to attend school and may not work during normal school hours unless they are enrolled in an off-campus education program provided under the School Act
  • workers aged 12-14 may only work in one of the approved jobs or a permit from Employment Standards must be obtained
  • workers under the age of 18 have specific allowed hours of work and supervision requirements

Learn more about rules for workers under the age of 18.

Show Answer Workplace hazards

What are the hazards of my job?

It’s required by law for your employer to tell you about any hazards at the workplace. These include both immediate hazards and hidden hazards.

Hidden hazards are hazards that don’t affect you right away. For example:

  • exposure to high noise levels over time can lead to hearing loss
  • working with radiation, dusts and chemicals can increase your risk of diseases like cancer

Spot the hazard before it happens

Prevention is the first step in being safe. Ask yourself what if questions, like: What if I bump into that open container of hot oil? What would happen then?

Learn more about workplace hazards.

Dangerous and unsafe work

As a worker, you're expected to do your best to protect your own and your co-workers' health and safety. This means looking out for unsafe work conditions or imminent danger. An imminent danger is a:

  • danger that's not normal for that job, or
  • danger under which a person engaged in that job would not normally carry out their work

If you come across a situation at work you think is unsafe, ask yourself:

Is this situation putting me or my coworkers in imminent danger?

If the answer is YES:

  • don't do the work
  • remove yourself from the situation and report it to your supervisor
  • your employer must deal with the issue and eliminate the imminent danger

If the answer is NO, but it's an unsafe work condition:

  • discuss the unsafe work with your supervisor and determine if there's a way the task can be done safely

Show Answer Protect yourself and others

Will I receive job training?

Your employer must make sure you have the training and the skills to do your work safely. If you're still learning, you must be under direct supervision of someone with these skills. Before taking on a job by yourself, make sure you have the necessary skills to get it done safely.

Do we have safety meetings?

Some employers will have health and safety meetings, but this is not required in Alberta. If your employer does this, it's a sign of their commitment to your health and safety.

Is there safety equipment?

When it comes to safety equipment, the law only requires employers to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) where there's a breathing hazard or legal noise limits are exceeded. If PPE is necessary, your employer is required to make sure you use it.

However, employers are NOT required to provide:

  • hard hats
  • safety boots
  • flame resistant clothing
  • eye protection

Emergency training

Is there emergency training? When?

Your employer must train you in emergency procedures – in the case of fire, chemical spills, etc. Special training is required before working with chemicals.

Where are the fire extinguishers, first aid kits, emergency equipment? Who is the first aid person?

Employers must control hazards in the workplace by providing fire extinguishers and other special equipment on-site. You must be shown where this equipment is and how to use it.

On-site first aid equipment is required by law, and most employers are required to have people present with first aid training. Find out where the first aid equipment is and who the first aid responders are.

Show Answer Get help

Who do I ask if I have a health and safety question?

If you have a health or safety question, the first person to ask is your employer or supervisor because they know your workplace best.

You can also contact OHS. It’s free and confidential.

What if I'm injured?

  1. Get first aid: If you’re injured, find someone to give you first aid immediately.
  2. Report the incident: Even if you think your injury is small or no big deal, it’s important to report it. Telling your employer will help them improve workplace health and safety practices.

    If you injure yourself at work, no matter how minor, ask your employer for an injury report form. If you require medical aid beyond first aid, you also need to fill out a WCB Report.

    Some incidents need to be reported to Alberta OHS. Find out what types of workplace incidents need to be reported..
Modified: 2017-09-13
PID: 5373

Contact OHS

1-866-415-8690 (toll-free)
780-415-8690 (Edmonton)

TTY: 780-427-9999 (Edmonton)
TTY: 1-800-232-7215

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