15 November 2022

Are some jobs too hazardous for young workers?

Earlier this year, the B.C. government conducted a public engagement survey to assess the potential workplace risk to youth under 19 years. As a result of asking British Columbians for their opinions on this issue, the B.C. government has updated the Employment Standards Regulation to better define unsuitable work for minors. 

Commencing January 1, 2023, minimum age requirements will be in effect for workers in industries such as construction, forestry, food processing and more. You can find a summary of the regulation changes and the corresponding engagement report at Hazardous Work Protection for Youth – Results

Why is this important?

Unfortunately, young workers are at a higher risk of experiencing work-related illnesses or injuries. Between 2016 and 2020, 669 B.C. workers under 19 were injured in construction jobs, while 26 suffered long-term disabilities. 

If you are a youth applying for your first job, a parent/guardian with a youth in your care or an employer with workers under the age of 19, workplace safety must remain a priority.

What can you do?

Reduce the risks to youth by becoming informed of their workplace rights and accommodations. Young workers and their guardians can start by checking out Know Your Rights as a Job Applicant and WorkSafeBC’s (not to be confused with WorkBC) resource page for youth or young workers. Meanwhile, employers can learn more about the regulations that guide the employment of young workers

Everyone has a part to play in improving awareness of workplace health and safety for young workers. Start by sharing these resources with friends, family or individuals who may benefit from them.