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Planned hiring increase sparks concerns about young worker safety

Half of businesses have a safety training program for new employees, 19 per cent have no orientation, emergency or safety training in place


Toronto – Many businesses plan to hire as many or young workers than they have in the past two years, only half of those businesses have a safety program, according to a new national survey.

Although 69 per cent of employers have an orientation program for new employees, only half (51 per cent) have a safety program, suggests a Young Workers Survey conducted among members of the Angus Reid Forum on behalf of Threads of Life.

Although 69 per cent of employers have an orientation program for new employees, only half (51 per cent) have a safety program.

“It was reassuring to see that many of the employers have an orientation program for new employees, and more than half have a safety program,” observed Shirley Hickman, executive director of Threads of Life, a non-profit organization that supports families dealing with workplace injuries and death. “But we worry about the safety of young people working for businesses that do not have safety programs – and particularly the 19 per cent of employers who reported no orientation, onboarding, emergency or safety training in place for new employees.”

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These are the key findings of a survey conducted by Threads of Life from March 23-25, 2022, conducted in English and French. Participants were a sample of 545 hiring managers who are members of the Angus Reid Forum.

  • 75 per cent of businesses either have young workers on staff or plan to hire young workers in
    2022
  • 66 per cent will hire as many or more young workers than they have in the past two years
  • about a quarter (27 per cent) of companies in high-risk sectors (agriculture/resources,
    construction, energy, manufacturing and transportation) plan to hire more young workers
    than in the previous two years
  • 69 per cent of the employers have an orientation program for new employees, and half (51 per cent) have a safety program

“We are not safety experts, but because of their own experience with tragedy, our members have an intense personal interest in workplace health and safety. We are deeply committed to preventing future tragedies,” explains Hickman, who lost her own son in an explosion at the arena he worked at in London, Ont. “We want employers, young workers and their parents to understand the risks they face when starting a new job and their rights and responsibilities for safety and health.”