This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.
|Print Focus Report
PDF 6.2 MB
Michael Lovett. Nick Perry. Josh Dueck. All were young men who suffered catastrophic workplace injuries that changed their lives forever. Michael lost his leg in a sawmill accident when he was 18. Nick was 19 and working in a lumber yard when he was rendered an incomplete paraplegic. Josh, at 23, severed his spinal cord while at work on a ski hill and became paralyzed from the waist down.
Ask any of these young men how it felt to go through the pain and suffering, the rehabilitation and the return to a productive life. Ask them if there could ever be a paycheque big enough to compensate them for their losses.
The accidents that result in such traumas as spinal cord or brain injuries, serious burns, paralysis, or disfigurement, can derail lives and rob young workers of everything they once valued. Some never fully recover. Others discover new abilities and adapt to their changed circumstances. For many, the physical and emotional suffering is lifelong and reverberates through friends, families, and workplaces.
There were 10,620 serious injuries among young workers in B.C. between 2005 and 2009. The most common of these were sprains, strains or tears (44 percent) and fractures (23 percent). More than half of all young worker serious injuries and deaths occur during the workers' first six months on the job.
Overall, the rate for serious injuries has been decreasing over the last five years across all industries, an encouraging sign that youth education and awareness efforts are worthwhile. Although the trend is moving in the right direction, continuous effort is needed to further bring the rate down.
As shown in the table below, the highest numbers of serious injury claims accepted between 2005 and 2009 involved young people working in the service sector (for example, restaurants), in the construction industry (for example, house building), and in retail (for example, supermarkets and other stores).
"All that independence that you worked so hard to gain can be taken away from you in a snap of your fingers." - Nick Perry
"I wake up every morning and in my head I think: another second of that conveyor running and I might not have a leg to put a prosthetic on. Another second after that, I might not be alive." - Michael Lovett
"Intuition said stop, but my ego made me go. Yeah, I had warnings, but I didn't heed them." - Josh Dueck
When a young worker suffers a life-threatening injury, there is a ripple effect, and every person in contact with that worker is affected. Certainly no one suffers more than the injured worker, but there is a huge emotional toll on families, on friends, and on the people who work with the young person who has been injured. As a society, we need to remember that empathy is required, both for the injured worker and for all those in contact with that person.
|Definition of "serious injury"|
|WorkSafeBC defines a serious injury as an occurrence where
|Lost Youth (video -- dramatic recreation of four serious young worker accidents; available through WorkSafeBC's Young Worker portal)|
|The Curtis Zanussi Story (video -- young construction worker talking about the impact of his injury on himself and those around him; available through WorkSafeBC's Young Worker portal)|
|WorkSafeBC 2009 Statistics Book (PDF -- compendium to the 2009 Annual Report; available on WorkSafeBC.com)|
|Top Seven Dangers for young workers (web page describing the most dangerous tasks young workers face and the types of jobs where they are at risk; available through WorkSafeBC's Young Worker portal)|
|The Journey (WorkSafeBC publication for injured workers, featuring personal stories about injured workers, and the benefits and services available to them; available on WorkSafeBC.com)|