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Workplace burn victim teaches employee rights to young workers

Youthful vigour and enthusiasm make young people a welcome part of the workforce here in Ontario. However, inexperience can put them in potentially dangerous or inappropriate situations on the job. One man, who suffered a devastating injury at work as a youth, is now teaching today's crop of young workers to understand their employee rights where safety is concerned.

The accident occurred on June 28, 2002 in a Langley, British Columbia restaurant. The man, who was 19 at the time, and his then 14-year old co-worker, were attempting to complete their closing duties early at the request of their employer. This led to the floor being mopped earlier than normal, causing it to be wet as the 19-year old walked across it carrying a 10-gallon vat of scalding hot cooking oil. Though he had a momentary vision of himself slipping and falling, he made his way across the floor anyway. He slipped and fell, spilling the oil over his face and body.

The oil caused severe burns to 43 per cent of his body, and he spent 29 days in an intensive care unit. He now lectures young workers on behalf of WorkSafeBC, the provincial work safety watchdog. It's his mission to make sure youth labourers understand their rights in the workplace as they pertain to safety. 

As a worker, you have a right to proper safety training, to be told of the hazards that exist in your workplace and to refuse to work in an unsafe manner. This is true for both men and women new to the workforce, and for seasoned employees. Anyone who believes they are expected to work in a dangerous manner that violates their employee rights in Ontario may wish to speak with an attorney at a personal injury law firm to reaffirm their position.

Source: Surrey Now, "Burn victim urges Surrey youth to know their rights in the workplace", Tom Zytaruk, Oct. 6, 2016

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