Caution urged during Take Kids to Work Day
More than 75,000 Canadian workplaces take part each November in Take Our Kids to Work Day – and the event can be a fun and interesting eye-opener for Grade 9 youngsters to gain a close-up look at what life is like at their parents’ workplaces.
But there can be dangers. In 2000, two children visiting a farm equipment plant in Ontario were killed when a plant vehicle they were driving crashed into a parked trailer.
And Nowell Seaman, the University of Saskatchewan’s Manager of Risk Management and Insurance Services, says the Workers’ Compensation Board no longer covers students taking part in Take Our Kids to Work Day – meaning not only that the children aren’t eligible for benefits if they’re injured, but also that they could now sue if they feel their injuries are the result of negligence by the host employer or staff.
Seaman stops short of recommending not participating in the Kids day – this year on Nov. 2 – but he notes “it is the responsibility of the supervisor or head of each unit, and ultimately the dean or division head, to determine whether or not the unit participates in the program.
He says if a unit decides to participate, “adequate and reasonable measures must be taken to reduce the potential risks and ensure the safety of all participants. Children should not be allowed into areas that are restricted to authorized personnel only for safety reasons – for example, areas where there are strong radiation sources or high radiation fields present.”
Seaman adds that if staff are bringing children who are not their immediate family, the unit should require the parents or guardians to sign and return an informed consent form in advance. It is available from Insurance Analyst Merv Dahl at email@example.com.
Seaman also urges staff involved to read a bulletin he has circulated to University managers on risk and liability of children in the workplace – and also to refer to the “Resources for Workplaces” section of the Take Our Kids to Work Day website, at: www.takeourkidstowork.ca.