It’s really hard to watch — but so worth watching.
A powerful new video tells the story of a young worker who was badly injured in a restaurant kitchen. Matthew Bowcott was 19 when he slipped on a wet kitchen floor while carrying a big container of boiling cooking oil to a disposal bin.
He said that right before his accident, he had a mental image of it happening. Then he picked up the boiling oil anyway, slipped, and ended up with burns to 43 percent of his body. He describes the pain of his treatment, recovery, and daily feeling of regret.
“I kick myself every day for not trusting that gut feeling — for not listening to what my body was trying to tell me,” Matthew says in the video, which contains many graphic images and raw emotions. “I would go back to that employer and tell him ‘No, I won’t do it because it’s unsafe and I have rights.'”
Hearing his mom’s recollection really gave me a jolt and brought tears to my eyes. She and her son share the story to remind young workers that they have a right to a safe workplace and the right to refuse unsafe work. Matthew reminds young workers to listen to their gut instincts when it comes to safety at work and shares his message as part of WorkSafeBC’s Young Worker Speakers Program.
When you hear about a firefighter getting injured, you probably picture it happening at the scene of an emergency. But in reality, approximately one-third of all firefighter injuries happen in fire halls.
Image from the video Safe In the Hall
“We take extreme caution on the fire scene, and sometimes it’s the more everyday duties in the fire station that probably don’t get the care and attention they should,” says Deputy Fire Chief Russ Jenkins of the Township of Langley Fire Department.
“Accidents can happen at any point in the fire station or fire hall environment and really you shouldn’t let your guard down no matter what sort of duty you’re fulfilling within the fire station.”
“We recognized a need to highlight these statistics, to make firefighters aware of hazards in the fire hall,” says Cathy Cook, executive director of the BC Municipal Safety Association. “If they are aware of the potential hazards, they can take steps to eliminate or at least reduce the risk of injury.”
Slips, trips, falls, and overexertion were some of the leading accident types — just like in so many other industries. Garry Wilson, an industry specialist with WorkSafeBC, says the video team consulted with subject-matter experts in the fire service.
“They guided us on how it would happen and how it might look, to provide realism, so firefighters will recognize this can and does happen,” Garry says, describing how injury affects life beyond the workplace. “It’s not just physical and it’s not just being off work. Those injuries impact your life outside of work no matter who you are.”
The video was shown at the annual BC Fire Chiefs conference and can be used in training, orientation, and crew meeting sessions. Notice the nasty (but effective) sound effect used for the back strain injury. Ouch!
A new video tells the story of a young worker who was badly injured in a restaurant kitchen. He ignored a gut feeling and was injured as a result. He shares his story and reminds others to listen to their instincts and know their rights to a safe workplace.
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“Take the time to think about what you are doing and pay attention to the task at hand as if it was your first time,” says Devon Smith, who shares the story of her injury to help others prevent it from happening to them.