Portage Collegiate Institute (PCI) welcomed the Safe Workers of Tomorrow to their school to emphasize workplace safety.

Speaker Bashir Ahmad attended the school on Wednesday, November 9th to speak with Grade 9 students about the importance of knowing their rights as an employee. He says Grade 9 is usually when most people start to look for a job and he notes it's inexperience that usually leads to workplace injuries.

"There are four main rights," explains Ahmad, "The first is the right to know, which is, essentially, the right to training. These kids are at a higher risk of getting injured on the job. They are overrepresented when it comes to injuries and the biggest reason is that they do not always receive good training when they get a job."

The other rights include the right to participate in health and safety discussions, the right to refuse unsafe work, and the right to protection in case someone tries to report any unsafe working conditions.

"A lot of people do not think about their safety until something happens," says Ahmad. "It's a lot more important to remember that while you can be injured, you don't have to be."

Career development coordinator Blair Hordeski also attended these sessions, as he too wants to ensure PCI's students will be knowledgeable when they head to their first job.

"We know that in the workplace it's young people to get hurt more often than older people," says Hordeski. "That can be for a variety of different reasons, but we just want to make sure our students have the tools to advocate for themselves so that, ultimately, they don't get hurt."

To learn more about the Safe Workers of Tomorrow, click here.