Lolly Good, Elder Greeting from Snuneymuxw Nation

Working with First Nations to Increase Worker Safety

Lisa Houle gave a presentation on behalf of WorksafeBC at the First Nations Safety Conference Oct, 22, 2018, at the Nanaimo Convention Centre. WorksafeBC is the injury insurance program for employers and employees on worksites in all industries across the province. "We work at the industry-level with partnerships in collaboration with the employers and the workforce," says Houle.

In the past few years, "We have developed a history of visiting First Nations schools to provide education resources to non-graduated students. We've been working together with First Nations to create greater awareness of safety on the job," no matter where the work is found, in the commercial fisheries, Indigenous agriculture, First Nations forestry, these are a few examples.

Houle describes a few of the many WorksafeBC initiatives and provides links to the WorksafeBC website for further information: "We have a Young Worker Campaign because work can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to the job or don’t have a lot of experience in the industry. You want to make a good first impression by showing your co-workers and your boss that you know what you’re doing.

"That’s why, while talking about safety at work, asking for training, or bringing up concerns can be hard, it’s important. Employers are responsible for providing adequate training before you start work. Proper training and orientation helps to ensure that everyone stays safe on the job. 

"If you get a gut feeling that something isn’t safe, or you don’t know how to do your job safely, listen to your instincts and talk to your manager about it. It could save your life or the life of your co-worker."

Houle says WorksafeBC runs a First Responders Mental Health Committee that provides an effective website interface for initiating contact and services like Self-Assessment "Sometimes it’s helpful to take a personal mental health check, to see how you’re managing with the stress and pressure of work (and life!)."

The website supplies a contact reference on "Ways To Help":  "Is someone you work with struggling with their mental health? Do they seem stressed? Are they acting differently—or is there something a little “off” in the way they’re behaving? Here are things you can do to offer support." Learn more about valuable mental health resources  

Houle explains, "At WorksafeBC we have 3000-plus resources with an industry-related focus covering the entire spectrum of job-related safety." She rolled a film about one of the higher-risk careers in B.C., the commercial fishery, "There have been 26 work-related deaths from 2007 to 2017 in the commercial fishery." The injuries come every year and FishSafeBC was an organization  launched in order to reduce the risk associated with employment in this valuable workplace sector.

Freelance Writing by Mack McColl in 2018


First Nations Safety Conference, October 22, 2018

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