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PSHSA looking for a new health and safety idea

Mitchell Vollmer | Interrobang | News | October 31st, 2016

Topics: Contests

Working at heights training, certification training, basic occupational health and safety training. If you are someone who has ever read or seen these phrases before, chances are you are someone who has completed Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Awareness and Training.

Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA), a non-profit organization funded by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, is inviting university and college students to conceptualize innovative and creative solutions, resources or services for increasing occupational health and safety awareness and reducing workplace injuries and illnesses among young workers.

“We mean to start early and to educate and build awareness for worker health and safety so that when they come into the workforce, they have some awareness already built about work practices,” said Joanne Clark, director of marketing communications and public relations for the PSHSA.

PSHSA serves more then 10,000 organizations and provides consulting and training to help reduce and prevent workplace risks and occupational injuries and illness.

According to data from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, more than 30,000 Ontario workers aged 15 to 24 received injuries on the job in the past five years.

“We supply youth with the tools to understand what is safe, knowing when to ask questions and knowing when to go to a manager so as to build that awareness,” Clark said.

Students and young workers are three times more likely to be injured on the job than more experienced workers.

Young workers are particularly vulnerable to workplace injuries and illnesses as they are typically involved in seasonal, contract, part-time or casual work, and often change jobs more frequently. This puts younger workers at a greater risk as they may lack the resources to understand their rights and responsibilities at work.

The contest will be focusing on students who are currently enrolled in the occupational health and safety certificate, health systems management and advanced ergonomics studies at Fanshawe, although every student is encouraged to enter.

“These new ideas could be a new product or service in workplace safety, a computer program or app, a training session or literally any idea one may have that relates to health and safety,” Clark said.

The OHS for Young Workers #StudentChallenge is the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of every young worker. A creative idea could win cash prizes and other great rewards, such as a GoPro Hero 4 Session or a paid full-time internship at PSHSA to implement the winning solution.

“We have several interns working with us, it’s something that is very imbedded in our organization to tap into the minds and ideas of youth, and we really want to merchandise the kinds of things they can learn by working with us,” Clark said.

As an intern of PSHSA, one will gain valuable on the job experience in an innovative and supportive OHS environment, gain exposure to key stakeholders, contribute to leading edge health and safety research and help develop training programs as well as initiating their own.

“There are so many different sectors in our organization, and it would be such an opportunity to work with us because we work across the health sector, the education sector, emergency services, municipal government sectors and many other opportunities to take advantage of if they don’t know exactly what are they want to specialize in,” Clark said.

For more information on how to enter the contest, visit to learn more about the challenge as well as submission requirements. Entries will be accepted until Jan. 31, 2017 at 11:59pm and use the hashtag #studentchallenge on Facebook and Twitter.
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