Workers Health & Safety Centre

WHSC 2019 student scholarship competition NOW OPEN

Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) invites high school students set to begin their post-secondary education this fall to enter our 19th annual student scholarship competition.

The primary objective of this annual initiative is to inform students about their right to be protected from safety and health hazards at work. It also aims to help shed light on the significant employer and supervisor legal duties to ensure this protection.
For those new to a job, including many students, this kind of information is critical, as new workers and those assigned to new work tasks are by far more likely to suffer an injury than experienced workers.

Responsibility and evidence

“This troubling reality suggests many employers aren’t meeting their legal obligations,” says Dave Killham, WHSC executive director. “There are many responsible employers out there, unfortunately there are many others, who instead of eliminating or properly controlling work hazards, they seek to shift their responsibility for unsafe conditions to workers.
“This is the case especially when it comes to young workers,” explains Killham. “We are told by some, young workers are risk takers and poor decisions makers by nature. These kinds of myths and victim blaming tactics are hall marks of antiquated, behavior-based safety systems.”
Killham, and others, point to a considerable body of research and a wealth of experience, demonstrating newness to the job and not youthful exuberance is what is responsible for higher rates of injury. Couple this newness and lack of experience with work hazards left unaddressed, along with inadequate or no training, and it is little wonder students and others new to work face excess risk.
Despite the evidence though, Killham says, “Many within Ontario’s occupational health and safety system find it easier to spend the limited time and resources available to them promoting a narrative that tells workers to work safer, rather than helping employers and supervisors meet their obligations to protect workers. WHSC training and information services are designed solely to assist all workplace parties meet and exceed legislative minimums and better yet achieve safer and healthier work. Our student scholarship initiative is consistent with these services and plays an important part in reaching a key, vulnerable worker audience.”    

Multiple scholarship opportunities

Applicants for the 19th annual WHSC Student Scholarship Contest must write an essay considering all of the reasons why workers new to a workplace or assigned new tasks face a far greater risk of injury than experienced workers do. Further, we ask them to share the steps they would take, if they were an employer, to ensure the safety of new or newly assigned workers.
In addition to the essay, applicants must also share something of their contributions to the quality of life in their school and community, both in their own words and in a letter of recommendation from a teacher, other educator or representative of a community organization.

The two top submissions will be awarded $2,000 scholarships honouring the memory of WHSC founder, Clifford Pilkey and long-serving WHSC board member, Fred Upshaw. Up to three additional scholarships of $1,000 will be awarded to students whose submissions merit recognition.
Submissions are due no later than Friday, June 7, 2019, 4:00 pm. Those responding should read the scholarship rules and application form very carefully. Winners will be announced in fall 2019 through various WHSC media channels.
Also, be sure to visit our web site for information on bursary opportunities at Ontario universities. These bursaries honour the memory of the late labour leader, Wally Majesky.

Please note: No portion of WHSC revenues or grants from the Ministry of Labour support student scholarships and bursaries. WHSC contributions for these important initiatives are financed solely through funds raised at the Clifford Pilkey Memorial Golf Fundraiser.

For more than 30 years, WHSC training has delivered hazard-based, prevention-focused training to workplaces in all sectors and communities of the Ontario economy. Further, WHSC offers several information resources including a number aimed at new and young workers.
To learn more:
Call:   1-888-869-7950 and ask to speak with a training services representative