I have worked many different kind of jobs, and I have seen sad outcomes from dangerous workplaces, both to workers and employers. These always seemed avoidable with time and attention. And “paying attention” did end up being the main take away concept from this program, along with knowing the accountabilities.
Health and Safety at Work is a set of five modules with a participant workbook and a facilitator’s guide. It is very well laid out, even conversational at times, with the lens of building language skills. It makes a connection to language skills and being an advocate for yourself and others to ensure safety in any kind of situation. This is a rich environment of information and direct experience.
I delivered this course over a series of four half-days. The modules would also work as stand alone workshops. The class was a very eclectic group: special needs adults with their care workers, ESL students and Community Futures employment clients.
The program is designed with a set of modules that can be done alone, with the suggestion that the first one, “Rights and Responsibilities” be covered first. This module presented some complex concepts and vocabulary that explored accountabilities and legal frameworks. With personal experiences – encouraged within the workbooks and supported with the Facilitators Guide - we got through it! We heard real life situations that connected the responsibilities we have as workers for safety and what employers must do to support worker safety. One of the ESL students that attended really appreciated learning about how Canadian workplaces are protected, something she did not experience in her homeland.
The program was held at Community Futures, which had technical gizmos that allowed me to bring technology into the room. I appreciated the different resources I found on the WorkSafeBC website. These added value to the workbook content and facilitators guide. One example is the "What’s Wrong with this Picture" contest. The contest covers every kind of workplace: nurseries, construction, home care, landscape maintenance and forestry. Each situation is a staged photo with numerous hazards and safety violations. People submit a list of observed concerns and the winning submission is published. These became tremendously helpful and entertaining, through a round table discussion and a review of the winning checklist to see what we had covered or missed.
Another tool from WorkSafeBC was the youth video contest. Submissions were mostly about bullying and workplace violence and provided poignant material. Another was on the need to avoid distractions. The "Top 10 Hazard Blind Spots" video was very good.
If you are interested in delivering this program - I strongly recommend it. Print workbooks and facilitator guides are available through the Decoda e-store or as a free download. Gather together a diverse group with different kinds of experiences and use the online resources. This stimulates great dialogue and learning!
Community Literacy Coordinator
Columbia Basin Allliance for Literacy - Boundary