Live Safe! Work Smart!

Health and Safety Resources for Ontario Teachers

Resource for Teachers in Cooperative Education, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and Other Forms of Experiential Learning

The Ministry of Education policy document, Cooperative Education and Other Forms of Experiential Learning, 2000, emphasizes the importance of healthy and safe placements for Ontario students in Cooperative Education, Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Programs, and other forms of Experiential Learning. Further, it stresses providing classroom safety instruction to students and sets out eight learning expectations that students must demonstrate in relation to this topic.

This revised Live Safe! Work Smart! resource will help teachers deliver the required health and safety learning expectations, as well as meet policy requirements around placement assessment. It has suggestions on how to conduct a workplace health and safety placement assessment and it provides classroom safety lessons and student activities related to curriculum expectations in the Ministry of Education cooperative education policy.

The resource follows the natural delivery of a Cooperative Education course. So as you walk through the document, you will find the relevant information that will assist you in delivering the health and safety co-op curriculum in phases of the program:

It also includes important information such as legislation setting out minimum age requirements for youth to be in a workplace and requirements for reporting serious and fatal injuries to the Ministry of Labour.

The attention you, as teachers, give to classroom safety lessons and assessing the placement for health and safety will not only help prevent injuries while students are with you, but also help prepare them for an injury-free, productive working life. And so thank you- Ontario's cooperative education teachers- for providing your students with the critical health and safety knowledge and skills that will prevent injuries and save lives!

Note: This resource is available for download on the Ministry of Labour's Live Safe! Work Smart! website.

Live Safe! Work Smart! Resources for Cooperative Education and Other Forms of Experiential Learning
ISBN 978-1-4249-6593-9 (Print)
ISBN 978-1-4249-6594-6 (PDF)
Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2008
This document has no legal effect and does not constitute and is not a substitute for legal advice. If you require specific assistance with respect to the interpretation of a legislative provision and its potential application to you, please contact your legal counsel.


Section 1: Polices and Legislation Affecting Placements

Section 2: Establishing the Placement

Section 3: Pre-Placement Instruction: Delivering Safety Lessons

Section 4: Placement Preparation: Before They Go Out the Door

Section 5: In-school Integration Sessions

Section 6: Classroom Activities

Section 7: Resources Suitable for Cooperative Education

Section 1 - Policies and Legislation Affecting Placements


In this section you will find an extract from the Ministry of Education's cooperative education curriculum document that deals specifically with Ministry of Education policy requirements around health and safety, both in the classroom and at the placement.

Also included is an extract from the Ministry of Education's PPM 76A that outlines procedures to ensure the provision of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) coverage for students who are at least fourteen years of age on placements of more than one day, along with information on Ministry of Education requirements for reporting of critical injuries and fatalities.

This section also includes Ministry of Labour legislation information that affects placing students in the workplace, including a chart that lists the legal minimum age requirements to work and visit in Ontario's workplaces. You may find this useful during the pre-course interviewing process when discussing placement options with your student. This chart will help you in determining if your student is old enough to be placed within a particular sector or with a particular employer.

Ministry of Education's Cooperative Education policy

The Ministry of Education Cooperative Education Document sets out the policies and procedures for the implementation of cooperative education and other forms of experiential learning in all Ontario schools. For the purposes of this resource, we have included an extract from this policy that specifically deals with the health and safety curriculum cooperative education teachers are required to provide to ensure the physical safety and personal well-being of their students.

Extract from 'Cooperative Education and Other Forms of Experiential Learning' Policies and Procedures for Ontario Secondary Schools, 2000.

Note: References to legislation have been updated in this extract from the Ministry of Education policy.

The Classroom Component Health and SafetyAs part of the pre-placement orientation, students involved in cooperative education and work experience must receive instruction on health and safety in the workplace. To ensure the physical safety and personal well-being of students, teachers must ensure that students demonstrate the following prior to placement:

Both teachers and placement supervisors must ensure that all students with special needs are thoroughly familiar with and able to implement all the safety precautions that may be required at the placement. They must also ensure that any necessary workplace accommodations to ensure students' safety are in place.

Students in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program must be provided with trade-specific health and safety training.

If a cooperative education teacher becomes aware of a health or safety hazard at any time during a work placement (e.g., through information supplied by a student), the teacher must discuss the hazardous situation with the placement supervisor, the head of the organizational unit in which the credits are being awarded, and the principal. The hazardous situation must be resolved before the student can return to the placement.

Board staff should be aware of their responsibility and potential liability in terms of students' health and safety. Any teachers and non-teaching personnel responsible for recruiting and securing placements must assess the health and safety environment of the potential placements (see section, 'Placement Assessment Criteria') and recommend only those placements with acceptable standards. Coverage under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. To ensure Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) coverage for students at the placement, a Ministry of Education Work Education Agreement form must be completed and signed by all parties prior to student placement. The coverage under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 for students in work education programs (work experience and cooperative education) is outlined in detail in the Ministry's Policy/Program Memorandum No. 76A, Workplace Safety and Insurance Coverage for Students in Work Education Programs.

The hours accumulated by a student at a placement (other than hours spent as an assistant to a teacher) must be reported to the ministry on a school-year basis. The number of hours of WSIB coverage may, in some cases, need to be increased. In such cases, a note must be appended to the Work Education Agreement form to ensure the necessary WSIB coverage for the student. The note must be signed by the teacher, the student, the student's parents (if the student is under 18), and the placement supervisor. It is the student's responsibility to obtain approval from his or her teacher and parents before extending the placement beyond the hours specified in the original agreement. Insurance coverage arranged through the Ministry of Education applies only to the hours stated in the Work Education Agreement and does not apply when a student receives an hourly wage or a salary (see section 4.3).

The Ministry of Education Work Education Agreement form must be used for all students participating in cooperative education or work experience who are 14 years of age or older. While boards may expand this form to elicit additional information, no modifications may be made that change the information elicited by the original Work Education Agreement form.

School officials, with the assistance of cooperating company officials, must ensure that proper WSIB procedures and requirements are adhered to both prior to and during placements and in the event of an accident. Teachers must follow WSIB and school board procedures when reporting accidents. Since accident-reporting procedures require students' social insurance numbers, it is recommended that all students involved in cooperative education or work experience have a social insurance number.

The Placement Component Placement Assessment CriteriaAll school boards must establish procedures for finding and assessing potential placements. The cooperative education teacher must conduct an assessment of each placement, including placements at businesses or institutions owned and operated by students' families, taking into consideration the following:

When a placement that has already been assessed is under consideration once again for a subsequent student, the cooperative education teacher must reassess it to ensure that it continues to meet the criteria listed above.

Ministry of Education's PPM 76A

The Ministry of Education released this memorandum in September of 2000 to ensure that education personnel involved in forms of experiential learning were aware that all students involved in work education programs were covered under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act1997.

Note that there are injury reporting requirements within PPM76A for reporting to the Ministry of Education, as well as injury reporting requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act that apply to the placement employer if a student is seriously injured or killed at the workplace.

Although all information contained in this memorandum is important, some significant points are extracted from the Ministry of Education policy for your convenience:

Note: References to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board have been updated in this extract from the Ministry of Education's PPM76A.

Conditions of Coverage


For the purpose of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board compensation coverage, students are deemed to be employees of the Ministry of Education, although they do not receive wages. For the purpose of calculating Workplace Safety and Insurance Board compensation benefits, the deemed rate of pay for an injured student is the general hourly rate according to current minimum-wage legislation.

Reporting Procedures and Claims

Any injury, however minor, to a student in a work education program should be reported by the student to the employer and to the appropriate teacher with full details, including when, where, and how the injury occurred. Accidents requiring only first-aid treatment do not have to be reported to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, but a record of the details must be kept by the school board. If medical treatment by a doctor, dentist, hospital, or other treatment agency is required, or if an accident results in loss of time from the program, a report must be sent by the school board representative to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

Ministry of Labour Legislation Affecting Placements

The Ministry of Labour's Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations made under the Act set out health and safety requirements for Ontario workplaces. The definition of “worker“ in the Act includes unpaid secondary school students participating in a school board approved work placement in Ontario. This means that unpaid cooperative education students have the same rights under the OHSA as other workers, such as the right to know about hazards and to refuse unsafe work. They also have the same duties, such as wearing and using protective equipment and not working in a manner that may endanger themselves or other workers in the workplace.

Three important requirements cooperative education teachers should be aware of are:

Reporting of Critical Injuries and Fatalities

Teachers may be aware of reporting requirements under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 when a student is injured while on a school placement (Policy/Program Memorandum No. 76A); however, teachers may not be as familiar with the requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employers to report to the Ministry of Labour and others, any critical or fatal injuries suffered by persons in the workplace. Critical injuries include fractures of an arm or leg, certain amputations, substantial blood loss, loss of consciousness and other types of injuries (see definition on the following page).

In the event of an injury, you, the teacher, will handle the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) reporting requirements, since the claim is under the Ministry of Education's coverage. The employer at the placement must notify the Ministry of Labour and others of serious injuries, as described in detail below, within the time frames specified in the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Depending on the circumstances, a Ministry of Labour inspector may launch an investigation.

Occupational Health and Safety Act: Revised Regulations of Ontario, 1990

Regulation 834 (Amended to O. Reg. 351/91)

Critical Injury - Defined

1. For the purposes of the Act and the Regulations, "critically injured" means an injury of a serious nature that,

  1. places life in jeopardy,
  2. produces unconsciousness,
  3. results in substantial loss of blood,
  4. involves the fracture of a leg or arm but not a finger or toe,
  5. involves the amputation of a leg, arm, hand or foot but not a finger or toe,
  6. consists of burns to a major portion of the body, or
  7. causes the loss of sight in an eye.

R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 834, s. 1.

Employment Standards Act: application to students in work experience programs

By virtue of paragraphs 1 and 2 of section 3(5) of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 ("ESA"), the provisions of the ESA, such as minimum wage, do not apply to either,

  1. a secondary school student who performs work under a work experience program authorized by the school board that operates the school in which the student is enrolled, or
  2. an individual who performs work under a program approved by a college of applied arts and technology or a university.

Minimum Age Requirements

Regulations made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act set the minimum ages for:

The minimum age to work varies depending upon the type of workplace. Unpaid students must satisfy the minimum age requirement set out in the applicable regulation in order to be placed in the relevant workplace.

Some examples of how the minimum age rules apply:

A 13-year-old could visit the sales floor of a store at the local mall, but would not be allowed to go into the stock room unless they were on a tour of the store or were accompanied by an adult. At the age of 14, they could work in the sales area, but couldn't perform work in the warehouse/storage areas until they turned 15.

A 14-year-old could not go into a steel mill or a warehouse on their own, but could do so on an organized tour or if accompanied by an adult. They would be able to work there when they turned 15.

The minimum age rules for factories

Your students must be at least 15 years of age to go to a placement in a factory. Although everyone has a notion of what a factory is, there is a specific definition of the term in section 1 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. For your information we've provided below the text of some definitions pertinent to the minimum age requirements. By virtue of the definitions, warehouses and automotive service garages are considered to be 'factories'.

Minimum age requirements to work in and visit Ontario workplaces
Type of workplace and age to work Age to visit

Industrial establishments such as: Offices, stores, arenas, restaurant serving areas = 14 years old

Most factories including restaurant kitchens, automotive service garages, produce and meat preparation or shipping and receiving areas in grocery stores, laundries and warehouses = 15 years old

Logging operations = 16 years old

The Regulation for Industrial Establishments made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act sets out minimum age restrictions for workers in offices, stores, arenas, restaurants and factories, but people younger than the specified age may visit, though not work in these establishments if they:

  • are accompanied by a person who has attained the age of majority (18 years of age);
  • are being guided on a tour of the establishment(e.g. office, store, arena or factory);
  • are in an area of the industrial establishment used for sales purposes; or
  • are in an area of the industrial establishment to which the public generally has access

In any case, these exceptions do not mean that the person under the minimum age is allowed to perform any work at these premises.

Construction project/Construction work = 16 years old

16 - if work is being performed there

Surface mines, mining plants = 16 years old

Underground mine = 18 years old

Working face of a surface mine = 18 years old

The Regulation for Mines and Mining Plants (R.R.0.1990, Reg. 854) made under the OHSA allows for tours or visits to mines and mining plants by younger persons if they are accompanied by and under the direction of a guide.

Window cleaning = 18 years old


The minimum age rule for restaurants

If your students are going to be doing work in a restaurant, it's important that you know what they will be doing there and where within the restaurant they will be working. According to the regulations a 14-year-old can work in the serving area (provided it's not an establishment licensed to serve alcoholic beverages) but that person will have to wait until they turn 15 to do any work in the kitchen, which is considered a factory.

The minimum age rules for construction projects

The Regulations for Construction Projects prohibit anyone under 16 years of age from being on a project when work in being performed there. If you want to take students to a construction site they must be at least 16 years old. Section 1 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act defines both construction and project. We've included these definitions below for your information. If in doubt about the application of a minimum age requirement to a particular workplace, please contact the local Ministry of Labour office listed in the blue pages of your telephone book for assistance.

Some definitions from the Occupational Health and Safety Act:

'factory' means,

  1. a building or place other than a mine, mining plant or place where homework is carried on, where,
    1. any manufacturing process or assembling in connection with the manufacturing of any goods or products is carried on,
    2. in preparing, inspecting, manufacturing, finishing, repairing, warehousing, cleaning or adapting for hire or sale any substance, article or thing, energy is,
      1. used to work with any machinery or device, or,
      2. modified in any manner,
    3. any work is performed by way of trade or for the purposes of gain in or incidental to the making of any goods, substance, article or thing or part thereof,
    4. any work is performed by way of trade or for the purposes of gain in or incidental to the altering, demolishing, repairing, maintaining, ornamenting, finishing, storing, cleaning, washing or adapting for sale of any goods, substance, article or thing, or
    5. aircraft, locomotives, or vehicles used for private or public transport are maintained,
  2. a laundry including a laundry operated in conjunction with,
    1. a public or private hospital,
    2. a hotel, or
    3. a public or private institution for religious, charitable or educational purposes, and
  3. a logging operation.

construction includes erection, alteration, repair, dismantling, demolition, structural maintenance, painting, land clearing, earth moving, grading, excavating, trenching, digging, boring, drilling, blasting or concreting, the installation of any machinery or plant, and any work or undertaking in connection with a project but does not include any work or undertaking underground in a mine.

project means a construction project, whether public or private, including,

  1. the construction of a building, bridge, structure, industrial establishment, mining plant, shaft, tunnel, caisson, trench, excavation, highway, railway, street, runway, parking lot, cofferdam, conduit, sewer, water-main, service connection, telegraph, telephone or electrical cable, pipe line, duct or well, or any combination thereof,
  2. the moving of a building or structure, and
  3. any work or undertaking, or any lands or appurtenances used in connection with construction.


Volunteers do not fall within the definition of “worker” and are, therefore, not covered under the OHSA.

Section 2 - Establishing the Placement


This section contains relevant advice that will help you to ensure that the placement can provide a healthy and safe environment for the student to develop the knowledge and skills that are necessary to work safely.

  1. Who to Talk To In the Workplace: Here you will find information and recommendations on who you should talk to when conducting the placement assessment, along with resources that you can share with the employer or supervisor during your discussion.
  2. Placement Assessment: The ideal pre-placement assessment involves a physical review of the job location where the student will work and discussions with the workplace representatives about health and safety training, protective devices and equipment, policies and procedures. The review will provide a 'snapshot' of the conditions of the day, the attitude of the workplace towards health and safety and the safeguards in place.

Who to Talk To In the Workplace

No one can guarantee that what is safe today is safe tomorrow. Guards can be removed, workplace conditions can change and the quality of promised training and instruction can diminish. The teacher's role is to obtain an understanding of safety aspects of the student's assignment for the placement, ask questions and obtain commitments regarding workplace-specific training. Ultimately, the assessment will provide the teacher with a strong sense of the commitment and quality of the workplace, in order to determine if the placement is acceptable for the student.

It is critical that you talk to the right people to ensure that all parties are on the same page as to what is expected of your student during their cooperative education placement. Depending on the complexity of the placement, your assessment may involve some or all of the parties with a part to play in the protection of the student:

Each of these parties has either direct responsibility for the student's safety or an ability to help protect the student while at work. Understanding their roles and how they can assist you in the assessment and placement process will help make the process easier for you.

Employer or Employer Representative at the Workplace

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the employer has very important responsibilities. These responsibilities cannot be delegated or conferred to another party by a waiver or a similar process. Key duties employers have to their workers, including unpaid secondary school students who are workers under the OHSA, are to:

In small workplaces, the employer may also be the supervisor and will have to be present for the placement assessment. In larger workplaces, the employer may ask another company representative or the supervisor to work with you through this process.

Ideally, the employer or employer representative should be endorsing the learning plan and confirming the arrangements for orientation, training and provision of safety equipment noted in the placement assessment.

They should also understand that you would like to be contacted if:

Placement Supervisor

The supervisor is the person at the placement who will help you identify the tasks the student will perform.

They are also responsible to orient the student to their new surroundings. Frequent contact with the supervisor is ideal as they are the ones who will monitor the student's progress, provide you and your student with feedback to improve student learning, and contribute to the performance assessment of your student.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act sets out duties and responsibilities for supervisors aimed at protecting the workers they supervise. A supervisor must, among other things, ensure that a worker:

Involving the student's direct supervisor in the placement assessment process will give you a better understanding of the work area and actual tasks that will be assigned and the opportunity to see the equipment the student will be using or operating, and a demonstration of the safety equipment that the student will be required to use or wear. The meeting with the supervisor is also the ideal time to discuss on-the-job training, safety orientation, company policies or rules and any protective equipment that the student will require for the placement.

You may also want to ask the supervisor about the level of supervision the student can expect. Does the supervisor work in the same area where the student will be working? Are they readily accessible if the student has a question? Will they be providing feedback to the student on how he or she is performing the work? The Cooperative Education policy document states that one of the criteria for selecting a placement is that the employer offers the opportunity for each student to work in a one-on-one relationship with a supervisor.

Employer and Supervisor Tip Sheet
Perfect handouts during the placement assessment! This will nicely summarize everyone's expectations for employers and supervisors with new and young workers in their workplace. Each is one page, double sided.
Keeping new and young workers safe / Treat new and young workers fairly - Free download

Worker from the Health and Safety Committee or Worker Health and Safety Representative

Generally, workplaces with six or more workers must have a worker health and safety representative, and if they have 20 or more workers, the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires that a health and safety committee be in place. There are different requirements for construction projects or workplaces at which designated biological, chemical or physical agents are present that you should ask about when placing a student.

Involving a committee member or worker health and safety representative in the assessment process may not always be necessary, but if it is a company where the placement tasks are complex, or duties are not well defined, or where you would like confirmation on the safety policies, procedures, training, work practices, etc., you may want to ask to have the worker health and safety representative or worker health and safety committee member involved in your discussions with the supervisor.

Placement Assessment

The first step in establishing whether or not a placement is appropriate for the student is your visit to the workplace to conduct the placement assessment prior to placing your student. A focus on health and safety during the placement assessment and in subsequent placement learning assessments (monitoring meetings) serves several purposes, including:

The following provides you with a sequential list of questions to ask the employer. Details about each component are described on the following pages.

  1. What are the hazards? Identify hazards that the student may be exposed to during the job or tasks assigned during the placement.
  2. What training will the student get regarding those hazards? Match hazards identified above to hazard-specific training.
  3. What kind of protection does the student need? Establish protective equipment and measures required for this placement.
  4. In addition to hazard-specific or protective devices training, what kind of overall training and orientation will the student receive?
  5. Who is the supervisor? Clearly establish who will be the student's supervisor and the quality of supervision that will be provided.
  6. What if the job/tasks change? Note any changes in job assignment or introduction of new tasks.
  7. Decide if the placement is appropriate: acknowledge the results of the assessment.

3-step monitoring visit review
When conducting placement learning assessments (monitoring), consider reviewing steps 1-3 during each workplace visit. Is there any new work the student is doing? Are there (new) hazards in that work? If so, has any new training been required and delivered? If not, why not and when will it be given? Has the student been required to use or wear any type of new protective equipment and if so, were they trained to use and clean it properly?

Seven-step Health and Safety Assessment Process

An effective safety assessment for the placement will focus on the job or task that has been identified in the learning plan. Zeroing in on the work will ensure that the resulting training plan is appropriate.

Have the employer be as specific as possible in defining the job and/or tasks the student will be undertaking during the placement. The work may involve only one piece of equipment or it may involve a number of different types of tasks and equipment. The more details gathered about the work the student will undertake, the more effective this safety assessment will be.

Step 1: Identify hazards that the student may be exposed to during the placement.

This part of the assessment itemizes any hazardous equipment, situations or machinery the student will be exposed to. Other hazards that you may consider including: working with knives and hot surfaces (kitchens), violence (detention centres), etc. Examples of hazards to consider include:

Step 2: Match hazards identified above to hazard-specific training.

For each of the hazards listed in the first step, there must be a workplace commitment to training the student to perform the work safely. This hazard-specific training should teach the student how to use equipment appropriately, provide information about work procedures and explain how all protective devices (such as guards) work. In this step, include detailed information, such as who will deliver training and when it will be delivered, so that everyone is clear on what needs to be done.

Note: Work that involves entry into confined spaces and operating mobile equipment, such as forklifts, is dangerous and Ontario legislation requires specialized training.

Sample table to match hazards with specific training
Hazardous job/task Training to be provided related to this hazard Delivered by When training will be provided

Work with table saw

Use of blade guard at all times, use of anti-kickback device and using pushers for some jobs.


Before saw is used

Note: Safety Certificates and Workplace Training
The certifications and workplace-related health and safety courses/programs that a student takes in school or through an outside agency do not change or remove the obligation of the employer to provide workplace, site, and equipment-specific training.
Ontario employers are obligated under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to provide information, instruction, and supervision to every worker to protect his or her health and safety, ensure that workers are acquainted with any hazard in the work, and take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of workers.
One example is an employer's obligation with respect to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). Although a person may hold a certificate to show that they have had some WHMIS instruction/training/education, most employers who have WHMIS-controlled products in their workplace are still required to provide WHMIS training specific to the chemicals/hazardous products in their workplace, location of Material Safety Data Sheets in their workplace, how to handle the products safely, etc.
Under the Ministry of Education's policy and Work Education Agreements, it is expected that the placement employer will provide job-specific safety training for students working in their workplace.
Certifications and training courses/programs provided to students complement, but are not a replacement for, the health and safety training obligations of employers. For more information on employers' obligations, consult the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations, and see A Guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Step 3: Protective measures required for this placement.

Some types of protective equipment, such as respirators, require specialized training to ensure proper use and fit. Learning how to use any type of equipment properly is essential so that the equipment will offer the protection it was designed to provide. For example, if safety glasses are worn improperly or do not fit, material can still enter the eye.

Establishing what safety equipment is required, whether it is required daily or occasionally, whether or not training will be provided on how to use and care for it (critical for respirators) and who will be providing it helps everyone be prepared for the job.

Sample table of protective measures required for placement
Immunization or Personal Protective Equipment Required daily or occasionally? Will training be provided? Employer will supply? Student to supply or arrange?

Immunization (specify)______________





Personal Protective Equipment:





Safety boots (green patch)





Safety shoes (steel toed)





Hearing protection (specify type)





Dust mask




















Step 4: Overall Training and Orientation

In addition to the hazard-specific training identified in the second step, or the training in the use and care of personal protective equipment in the third step, identify all orientation, instruction and training that will be provided and note the agreed upon training dates/timeframes.

General workplace orientation and job-specific training cover many of the program expectations in the curriculum document, but workplace-specific Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training will be necessary in most workplaces, if the student works with or near any WHMIS controlled products. Some workplaces may have other training requirements, such as pedestrian training for walking in a factory, vehicle traffic rules, human resources policies and procedures, etc. that should be added to your list.

In all cases, students should receive training in emergency procedures, e.g. what to do if there is a fire, chemical spill or similar emergency, and what to do if they are injured- where should they go, who to advise, etc.

Sample training plan
Overall Safety Training/Nature of Training Training Date(s)/Time Frame

Workplace-Specific WHMIS Training (this may be included in the hazard-specific training list if the student is working with these products, but if the student is working around the products, some orientation to the workplace WHMIS program is appropriate).


General Workplace Orientation tour of the workplace, location of fire extinguishers, first aid stations, fire exits, evacuation procedures, MSDSs, staff bulletin boards, etc.


Job/Task-specific Training: regular operating procedures, including use of any safety devices, applicable lock-out procedures, rules of use, etc.


Emergency procedures: what to do in the event of a fire or other emergency


Injury procedures: what to do if a student is injured, where to go, who to tell


Other training required by the workplace or identified by the assessment process.


* For Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) students, workplace trade specific health and safety training.


* All students participating in OYAP, whether registered apprentices or not, are expected to have included all applicable health and safety components of the trade's Training Standard or Schedule of Training in their Personalized Placement Learning Plan. The inclusion of these components will ensure that students receive the same high quality health and safety training as demanded of all apprentices.

Step 5: Clearly establish who will provide supervision

Lack of adequate supervision of young people in the workplace, along with little or no training, have been identified as two of the main contributors to injuries on the job. Ensure that supervision will be provided, which should include having a supervisor in or near the work area where the student is placed, continual observation of how the student performs the task, regular feedback when tasks are not performed properly or safely and an opportunity for the student to ask questions.

Consider including the name of the student's direct supervisor on the safety assessment so that everyone is clear who will be overseeing the student's work.

Step 6: Include a note in case of changes in job assignment/ introduction of new tasks.

Consider including a note that reminds the employer and supervisor that if a student is placed at a new job or if different types of tasks are assigned, a review of new safety training needs is expected so that appropriate orientation, training and safety equipment will be provided to do the new work. Also note that you would like to be notified by the workplace before any new assignments are undertaken.

Note: If you are notified that a student has a change in their job or tasks, use the opportunity to go through Steps 1 to 3 in this section to determine if there are any new hazards, new training or protective equipment required.

Step 7: Acknowledge the results of the assessment.

Based on the information provided during the assessment meeting, note the date of the meeting and whether or not you recommend this placement for this student. Making this note, especially if the placement does not satisfy the educational needs or safety requirements, will benefit cooperative education teachers who may consider this placement in future semesters.

You may decide that no is the answer:

... it's okay to say 'No'!

Before you leave the workplace
Review: You may want to recap your conversation by reviewing the hours of work, expectations of behaviour on the part of your student, and the request to be notified if there are any changes to the job as the placement progresses.
Injuries: You may want to consider adding a note to the documents you leave with the employer to remind them to let you know about any injury that the student may suffer, and that they must notify the Ministry of Labour if the student is seriously injured.
Assignment: If you are going to assign an activity for the student to do at the workplace and bring back to the first integration session, such as the activity in the Placement Preparation section of this resource, you may want to notify the employer so they can support the student in completing their assignment.

Ministry of Labour Enforcement Where Students Are In The Workplace

There are things you should know if a Ministry of Labour inspector visits the workplace where your student is working. For example, the inspector may ask your student questions about the internal responsibility system or the training they received from you or the workplace employer about their potential exposure to workplace hazards.

The Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) Health and Safety Inspectors enforce the OHSA and regulations through two main roles:

  1. Inspection

Ministry of Labour inspectors inspect Ontario's workplaces to ensure compliance with the OHSA and associated regulations.

The OHSA clearly outlines the responsibilities of the workplace parties (e.g. owner, employer, supervisor, worker etc.) to keep workers safe. When a Ministry of Labour Health and Safety Inspector conducts a workplace inspection, s/he may require the workplace parties to provide necessary information for the inspector to assess that they have met the provisions of the OHSA and any associated regulation.

  1. Investigation

Ministry of Labour inspectors investigate workplace accidents, complaints and work refusals.


Here are a few other things you should know:

Minimum age

The main purpose of the OHSA is to protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job. The OHSA sets out duties for all workplace parties and rights for workers, it establishes procedures for dealing with workplace hazards, and provides for enforcement of the law.

Employers are responsible for ensuring that minimum age provisions in the regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act are complied with. Ministryof Labour inspectors can issue orders to the employer for age-related contraventions.

Generally, the minimum age for working in Ontario is 14 years for most types of work. Some regulations made under the OHSA specify higher minimum ages for certain types of work , as follows:

In a restaurant, the food preparation area would be considered a factory, with a minimum age of 15 years, whereas the cash register would be a shop, with a minimum age of 14 years.

An employer is prohibited from employing or permitting persons, who are under the prescribed age for the employer’s workplace to be in or near the workplace (clauses 25(2) (f) and (g) of the OHSA).


Employers are required to notify the MOL if any person is critically injured or killed at the workplace, including unpaid students.


Where an unpaid student is injured at the workplace, the inspector may investigate the circumstances and determine if there are any contraventions of the OHSA or regulations. A placement employer must report an incident to the Ministry of Labour and specified workplace parties (e.g. Joint Health and Safety Committee, or health and safety representative) as set out in section 51 or 52 of the OHSA.

The maximum penalties for a contravention of OHSA or its regulations are set out in OHSA section 66. A prosecution could, for each conviction, result in:

Issuing Orders

Where non-compliance is found, the MOL Inspector may issue orders under the OHSA and/or applicable regulations. These orders may require immediate compliance with the relevant legislative provision, i.e. before the Inspector leaves the workplace, or scheduled with a future compliance deadline date on which written notification that compliance has been achieved must be provided to the Ministry of Labour.

Where an unpaid student is in contravention of OHSA (e.g. no head protection, removing a protective device, etc.) an order may be issued to the student as they are a “worker” under the OHSA. Orders, tickets and summons against the supervisor and/or employer may also be considered under OHSAwhen an unpaid student is found to have contravened a provision.

The Ministry's goal is for all workplaces to achieve self-compliance with OHSA and associated regulations through a well-functioning Internal Responsibility System (IRS). The IRS means that everyone in the workplace has a role to play in keeping workplaces safe and healthy (e.g. workers, employers and supervisors). Where self-compliance does not happen, the result could be progressive Ministry of Labour enforcement, which begins with the issuing of orders and may proceed to prosecution.

Inspectors are the OHSA enforcement arm of the Ministry of Labour; their role includes the following:

For your convenience... Most school boards have a standardized form for teachers to use when performing placement assessments. For those boards that do not, the OCEA Placement Assessment Guide is included below for your reference. Note: You can download the OCEA form as well. Look in the resources section for the Placement Assessment Guide.

OCEA Placement Assessment Guide

The Cooperative Education and Other Forms of Experiential Learning, 2000 policy document mandates that placements be assessed for their educational value and health and safety considerations.

Date: ___________________

Placement: ___________________________________________________________

Address: ____________________________________ Telephone: _______________

Placement Employer/Supervisor: __________________ Fax ____________________

Cooperative Education Teacher: __________________Student Position:___________


Commitment to Experiential Learning

In discussion with the employer and/or supervisor explain:

Identify if they are willing/able to:


Learning Environment

Through observation during a tour of the facilities, specifically the student's work area, and discussion with the employer/supervisor, you will be able to identify that the:


Health and Safety

Begin discussion by explaining to the employer and/or supervisor, the pre-placement and integration expectations students have achieved in the classroom related to health and safety.

Ensure health and safety issues and requirements are included in the student's personalized placement learning plan (e.g. PPE, training, etc.)

Identify any hazards, equipment, situations or machinery the student will be working with. Examples of hazards are:


Note: Ensure when assessing the placement as Recommended/Not Recommended that activities students will be allowed to do at the placement are consistent with school board policies and procedures.


Specify the type of safety training that will take place related to the hazards listed above, including who will deliver the training, when training will take place, and the personal protective equipment required.

Health and Safety Hazard Training Plan
Hazardous Job/Task Training to be provided related to this hazard Delivered by When training will be delivered PPE Required






Protective Equipment and Measures Required

Some types of protective equipment, such as respirators, require specialized training to ensure proper use and fit. Learning how to use any type of equipment properly is essential to ensure that the equipment will offer the protection it was designed to provide. For example, material can still enter the eye area if safety glasses are worn improperly or do not fit properly.

Protective equipment and measures required

Protective Equipment or Measure

Required Daily or Occasionally

Training will be provided?

Employer will provide?

Student to provide?

Safety Boots (green patch)





Safety Shoes (specify)





Safety glasses





Hearing protection (specify)





Dust Mask




















Protective Immunization and/or Testing Required: ____________________________________________

Police Clearance Required: _____________________________________________________________

Overall Training and Orientation

Aside from hazard-specific training or training in the use and care of personal protective equipment, identify all orientation that will be provided and the agreed upon dates/time frames.

Overall Training and Orientation
Overall Training and Orientation Date(s)/Time Frame

WHMIS Training


General Workplace Orientation: tour of the workplace, location of fire extinguishers, first aid stations, fire exits, evacuation procedures, MSDSs, staff bulletin boards, etc.

Other training required by the workplace or identified by the assessment process:


Workplace Policies

Introduce the issue by explaining to the employer and/or supervisor the pre-placement and integration expectations students have achieved in the classroom, related to human rights, discrimination and harassment.



Note: File copy(ies) of Placement Assessment as required by district school board policy and procedures

Section 3 - Pre-Placement Instruction: Delivering Safety Lessons


As part of the pre-placement orientation, students involved in cooperative education and work experience must receive pre-placement instruction on health and safety in the workplace. The Cooperative Education policy sets out eight safety-related learning expectations that must be met to prepare students for their placement.

The selected classroom activities, tests, monitoring and integration ideas recommended in this section help fulfill this objective by teaching, testing and reinforcing the basics of health and safety.

To assist you in ensuring your students can demonstrate the safety-related skills and knowledge required by the policy, in this section you will find a convenient chart listing the eight safety-related expectations along with related information and corresponding activities to help you deliver this curriculum, either in the classroom or at the workplace.

While meeting the specific expectations of the Cooperative Education course is essential, the overriding purpose of in-class safety lessons is to ensure the student has the knowledge and skills to work safely at his or her placement. Ideally, these lessons will also establish skills they can take into their own jobs for life.

As Cooperative Education and other forms of experiential learning expand, more students may choose these types of courses to achieve their high school credits and teachers must be prepared with different approaches to reach and challenge the many different abilities in our student population.

This resource provides strategies for first time co-op students, second time co-op students, those with special learning needs and some ideas for those in the Specialist High Skills Major program.

Doing a one-day experiential learning activity?
To make sure they are prepared, consider the student and parent handouts in Section 4: Placement Preparation: Before They Go Out the Door.

Overall Health and Safety Education and Awareness of Workplace Safety Issues

The suggested activities in this table are all great ways to provide overall knowledge on all aspects of workplace health and safety. For your convenience, these are grouped in two ways:

  1. By student experience in cooperative education: from Special Needs/Life Skills students in experiential learning to second time or any other specialized programs beyond their first time in co-op, such as Specialist High Skills Major.
  2. Within each quadrant, the activities are in a logical order of delivery: from the first introductory activity to one that would serve as a culminating activity.

A reminder that these general suggested activities need to be dovetailed with expectation-specific activities such as those that appear on the following pages. Those suggested activities are matched to the specific expectations to help you cover the pre-placement instruction requirements in the Ministry of Education's Cooperative Education policy document.

You may want to cover the specific expectations before you do some of the overall safety activities, as you can then be assured you have met the expectations prior to placement. All of this safety education provides your student with the foundational knowledge that they need before they go to the workplace, where the employer or supervisor will give them the job-site specific health and safety training necessary to do the job safely.

You may have many of your own tried-and-true resources as well. That's great! There is no such thing as too much health and safety education and awareness!

Activities to Support General Health and Safety Awareness and Knowledge

The activities in the tables below can be found in Section 5: In-School Integration Sessions and Section 6: Classroom Activities.

Activities to Support General Health and Safety Awareness and Knowledge
First Time Co-op Second Time Co-op

Guest Speakers

Safety Bingo

Case Studies or Great Ad!


Guest Speakers

Exploring Worker Safety Issues

 Lost Youth video



Activities to Support General Health and Safety Awareness and Knowledge
Specialist High Skills Major
If not their first time in cooperative education
Special Needs and Life Skills Students

Use any activities in First and Second Time Co-op if they have not done co-op before, but here are a few suggestions that are focused at review, more sector-specific learning (get a special guest speaker related to their SHSM).



Guest Speakers


NOTE: Live Safe! Work Smart! for Teachers of Students with Special Learning Needs has specific lessons for you. You may also want to reference: Live Safe! Work Smart! for Elementary teachers. Some of these activities appear in those two resources. The ones with the asterisk (*) next to them are NEW.


My responsibilities at work

Charades*: can be modified

Safety Bingo*: can be modified


Making Safety 'Top of Mind'

Specific Occupational Health and Safety Learning Expectations

Specific Occupational Health and Safety Learning Expectations
Cooperative Education Expectations Information for Teachers Suggested Activities

1.    An understanding of workplace health and safety rules

Classroom lessons can only address general information about health and safety rules. Knowledge of placement-specific safety rules is most critical and must be delivered in the workplace by the employer.

  • Spot the Hazard
  • Safety Primer: Physical Hazards
  •  Safety Primer: Germs
  • Safety Primer: Ergonomics        

2.    The appropriate use of safety equipment, including fire extinguishers and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

The general resources listed at the beginning of this chapter and the activities listed on the right will provide information on key topics in the Act.

Fire Extinguishers

3.    An understanding of the need for personal protective equipment (PPE), including goggles, gloves, boots and aprons

Resources cover types of personal protective equipment (PPE) and situations where various types work best. Students should gain a basic awareness in the classroom, but emphasis should be on preparation for using or wearing appropriate PPE required for the placement.

  • Safety Gear
  • Safety Primer: Safety Gear

4.    An understanding of theOccupational Health and Safety Act

The general resources listed at the beginning of this chapter and the activities listed on the right will provide information on key topics in the Act.

  • Class Discussion on Workplace
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Safety Primer: Safety Rules

5.    The correct handling of materials and equipment as specified in the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training program

Classroom lessons should focus on general WHMIS provisions so that students can read a WHMIS label and a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), know the symbols and that they need to be trained in the workplace.

WHMIS training is not complete until the student gets workplace-specific orientation and training in their placement. Students need to know where their employer keeps their MSDSs, what WHMIS products they use, and be trained in safe use and handling if they are working with or in proximity to a controlled product.

  • WHMIS Jigsaw
  • Safety Primer: WHMIS
  • WHMIS Tests: Levels 1, 2, 3

6.    An understanding of the coverage provided by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.


7.    The procedures for reporting accidents

Students should be aware that they are covered by WSIB when they are on school work placements and that there are requirements for first aid procedures to be in place in workplaces.

Students should know that they need to report injuries to their supervisor or employer at the placement (even minor injuries can be investigated and situations fixed so that no one else gets injured) AND to you so that the Board's WSIB forms can be filled out.

  • Note: Teachers should have a conversation with students on the following topics:
  • WSIB coverage for them on placements
  • ensuring they are told about First
  • Aid procedures at the workplace
  • during their orientation
  • the fact that they are to report any injury to their placement supervisor, no matter how minor
  • Teacher expectations for being notified about student injuries:
    • ALWAYS reporting an injury
    • how soon after the injury must they report to you, the details you need to know, etc.
  • The fact that the Ministry of Labour may investigate their injury if it is serious

8.    The procedures for reporting unsafe practices

It is important to emphasize that the Occupational Health and Safety Act'srequirements to immediately report any hazards that they are aware of or unsafe practices to their supervisor, and to you, in the case of school placements.

You may also want to reinforce examples of hazards and unsafe practices.

It is also an excellent idea to get the student to ask the supervisor on the first day of the placement what the procedure is for reporting unsafe practices or conditions.



Are your students ready?
A survey of Ontario teachers revealed that:
73% of teachers said that they feel their students are prepared to identify hazards on the job and say 'no' to a request to perform dangerous work
78% of teachers have used the Live Safe! Work Smart! Resources

Section 4 - Placement Preparation: Before They Go Out the Door


This section provides you with the opportunity to have a dialogue with your student about what you have learned in conversation with the employer/supervisor during the placement assessment, and what your student needs to know before they go to the workplace. It is also an opportunity to establish your expectations of them while they are in their placement.

Students need to know that they play a critical role in determining if a workplace is a good place to work. They should take the responsibility to assess whether or not the workplace is safe by observing their surroundings and talking to other workers to determine attitudes towards safe working practices. They should ask pertinent questions, assess the quality of information received and evaluate the risk before taking ANY job.

This section also contains information for parents. Parents play a vital role in ensuring the safety of their teens, and this section contains suggestions for parents to talk to their sons or daughters about their placement.

Student Information

Once the placement assessment is complete, the teacher should review the safety portion of the assessment that was undertaken on their behalf with the student, and the student should clearly understand all requirements of the job.

The conversation you have with your student should mirror the conversation you had with the employer during the placement assessment. Keep in mind that the safety aspects of a placement assessment are more than just cooperative education procedures. Assessing a workplace to see if it is a good place to work should be part of what every worker does before they start a new job, or before they start their shift. As you review the placement assessment, and what the student needs to know about their placement, you may want to remind them that these are the same questions they should always ask when they have a job.

Topics you should consider covering include:

Put it on Paper!

For some students with alternate learning needs, 'My Job Notebook' is a good way to record the important facts about their placement. At a glance, the student, employer, teacher and parents can see relevant information about the student's new workplace. It can be found in the Live Safe! Work Smart! Resource for students with special learning needs, or the Live Safe! Work Smart! for elementary teachers or on the Live Safe! Work Smart! website:

For other students, consider creating a master form that can be filled out during your discussion with the student to record pertinent information that you want to be sure they are aware of. Here are some suggested points for the form:

Note: Be sure to add anything you think is important for the student to know and/or things you learned during the placement assessment.

Education + Awareness + Workplace Training = Knowledge and Skills
EVERY student entering the workplace on a placement should be armed with health and safety education and awareness you've provided by meeting the Cooperative Education policy document's learning expectations.
THAT KNOWLEDGE will be dovetailed with health and safety training at the placement specific to the workplace, the hazards, safe work practices, policies and procedures.
TOGETHER, education and awareness, paired with workplace training, provides your students with skills and knowledge to stay safe on the job now and provides experience that will serve them on their career journey.

Tip sheet for Students/Young Workers
This tip sheet is an excellent handout for students before they start their co-op placement or at any time as it provides important information about job safety.

Stay safe at work: 12 tips / You have rights at work Free download on the Live Safe! Work Smart! website

Parent/Guardian Information

Parents or Guardians can also play an important role in ensuring the safety of your student while at the placement. Parents should be aware of the nature of the work their teen will undertake, the training commitments made by the employer and the safety equipment the student needs to bring or wear at the placement. Sharing the learning plan and health and safety assessment with parents or guardians extends the circle of those involved in the work the student will undertake.

Knowledgeable parents can ask their teens if they have had training, can talk about the tasks that are assigned, and can help ensure that the required safety equipment is always brought to the placement.

Parent Resources
1. Send them home with other information about a student's cooperative education placement
2. Provide them to your School Council to advise parents of their role in keeping their kids safe
3. Put them on the table during parent interviews and encourage parents to take one.
Your Teen at Work: Tips for Parents Free download on the Live Safe! Work Smart! website

Placement Activity: Student Report

This activity, designed to be completed by the student during their first week at their placement and submitted to you on the first integration day, will achieve several purposes:

  1. Focus students on the safety training and information they are receiving at the workplace
  2. Give them an opportunity to talk to their placement employer about workplace safety
  3. Allow you to validate that what you learned from the placement assessment, and expected to happen, did.

During the final classroom session, before the students go to their placements, provide the reporting sheet and explain the assignment. Tell them it is due on the first integration day.

During the first classroom integration session, the assignment can be taken up as a group. The students report on their personal experience at their placement with respect to each workplace safety issue listed in the activity. This method may result in a good group discussion about some very positive experiences and reveal some that are less than adequate.

In the end, you may want to collect these and reflect on each one individually based on what your expectations were for the type of work each student would be doing and the training they were to receive as discussed during the placement assessment. Look for red flags and exemplary practices. The Student Report form is on the next page.

NOTE: Although not essential, you may want to advise the placement employer that the student will have this assignment to complete during their first days in the workplace. It would enhance the student's experience if they could work with someone from the workplace to help them fill out the form.

Student Report: First workplace session
Safety Issue What did I learn? What training did I receive? How is the safety of workers protected where I work?

Workplace safety rules

Company rules about safety, including what to do if you are asked to do something you think isn't safe.


Dangerous equipment

Includes: motorized or powered equipment and tools, vehicles or forklifts, etc.

Equipment I am working with:





Dangerous situations

Includes: working at heights, working with chemicals, working alone, excessive heat or extreme cold, violence, contact with infectious people, animals or things

Work situations that may be dangerous

in my job:





Protective equipment

Includes: safety boots or shoes, safety glasses, hearing protection, mask, respirator, gloves, reflective vest, etc.

Protective equipment I wear at work:





Special and Emergency

Procedures training

Includes: A tour to familiarize you with the workplace so you know where things are, workplace fire and emergency procedures, what to do if you are injured, etc.

What I received:





Section 5 - In-school Integration Sessions: Focus on Safety


It is during the integration sessions that you, the teacher, also have an opportunity to accomplish a number of goals:

The in-school integration sessions also provide an opportunity for the student to 'make sense' of their experiences at the workplace in light of what they have learned about health and safety in the classroom prior to placement. This is the time for them to demonstrate an understanding of the health and safety practices at their specific placement and to share this knowledge with their classmates and teacher.

In this way, the classroom becomes a forum for students to critically reflect on their personal placement experiences regarding health and safety, and to share some of the positive behaviours they saw while at their placement.

A good idea is to have a guest speaker(s) at your first integration session to talk to your students about health and safety, or to have students organize a health and safety panel. In this way, the students have had a couple of weeks experience at the workplace, have had their workplace safety training, and have learned what the placement expects in terms of healthy and safe behaviour and attitudes. A guest speaker or panel of health and safety professionals can address these issues and put the students' learning in context. Have students prepare a list of questions to ask and send out the list prior to the guest speaker's appearance.

Visit the Live Safe! Work Smart! website to identify organizations that provide guest speakers or perhaps find speakers from workplaces and organizations in your community.

Making the most of your Guest Speaker: Student Questions

Having a guest speaker during an integration session is a good opportunity for students to learn more about workplace safety from a community member. The timing is perfect. Students have already been out in the workplace, have seen things, been trained (hopefully!), heard things and can engage in a deeper discussion with a guest speaker than they could during pre-placement. Before the guest speaker arrives, have students prepare a form, such as the one in the sample below, to record a few questions to ask the speaker. Questions can center on their placement experience, or the speaker's opinion, education, training and experiences. There are some ideas in the sample form below:

You might consider putting some standard questions on a form and ask students to each add two or three of their own to ensure a full and rich discussion with the guest speaker.

Questions for guest speaker
Question for the Speaker Answer What I will do based on this information

Have you ever refused to do unsafe work?



Can my employer ask me to be the first aider since I have my Red Cross certificate?



Have you ever witnessed a worker being injured?



Can you tell me how to tell my employer I think something is unsafe? What should I say?



I haven't been told what to do if there is an emergency at my placement. Should they tell me? How do I ask?



Can my employer require me to wear hearing protection?



Section 6 - Classroom Activities


The following classroom activities have been created and assembled to help teachers implement the health and safety learning expectations from the Cooperative Education curriculum. They provide students with the opportunity to learn required and important health and safety lessons in a meaningful and, often fun, way.

Using engaging lessons will increase the chance that your students will recall key information and apply what they learned to their placement. With the activities in this section, they should walk out of your classroom with a clear idea about what constitutes safe working practices, what to do if something is not right or is not safe, and be prepared to advocate for their safety. Skills, knowledge and attitudes learned in your classroom will not only serve these students for their immediate placement, but will help form positive life-long attitudes that will keep them safe for life.

Please refer to the Cooperative Education learning expectations tables in Section 3: Pre-Placement Instruction: Delivering Safety Lessons above to see how these activities match up to the 8 required learning expectations and the overall objective of a well prepared student.

While these activities will serve many of your needs, you may also find specific co-op preparation activities for your particular students in:

Find out about these and other great resources, and order these free bilingual classroom-ready resources.


In small groups, and in cooperation with the school, assign students an area of the school to inspect.

Download the checklist from the teacher resource web site, copy and hand it out. Students will look for hazardous situations that can cause injuries.

As an added level of difficulty, for each hazard they find, have them write:

  1. why it is dangerous
  2. what could happen if the hazard was not corrected
  3. two options for correcting the situation
  4. who should be advised of the hazard (someone in a position of responsibility)

.Then, have them number their hazards as priority 1 (most imminent danger to others and needs immediate attention as someone could be hurt immediately), 2 (should be fixed soon), 3 (not likely to hurt anyone now, but something that should be reviewed and submit their written report. Visit the Live Safe! Work Smart! web site to download checklist.

Spot the Hazard

Woman in messy office cubicle with various safety hazards that needs to be identified.People working in a kitchen surrounded by various safety hazards which need to be identified.

Everyone can do this one! Study the picture of the office or the kitchen and find the potential hazards. Download the full size office and gas station pictures and teacher answers.

As an added level of difficulty, ask students to record:

  1. why it is dangerous
  2. what could happen if the hazard is not corrected
  3. how the hazard should be corrected

Great Ad!

There is a great deal of information available on the web that seeks to raise awareness of workplace health and safety among young people.

Ask students to research information on young worker job safety. The following web sites are great places to start:

Ministry of Labour

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

These sites will lead to other appropriate web material that can be used in the following activity:

What to Do

In small groups, students will develop a one to three minute commercial on being safe at work which they can perform as a skit in the classroom or videotape to show the class. Alternatively, individual students can create posters about workplace safety that can be displayed in the classroom.

Content should contain key messages such as:

WHMIS Jigsaw

As you know, one of the safety-related expectations in the cooperative education policy relates to WHMIS. This activity will address that expectation. Since WHMIS is included in the Science curriculum in Grade 9 and 10, and Science is mandatory in those grades, this should be a review for most students.

Divide the class into six groups. Each group is to research their topic and make a 10 to 15 minute presentation to the class to explain the topic using visual aids.

Group assignments

Group 1: WHMIS what it is, what's involved, Ontario law

Group 2: WHMIS symbols (Class A, B, C, D-1 products)

Group 3: WHMIS symbols (Class D-2, D-3, E and F products)

Group 4: Worker training what's required

Group 5: Material Safety Data Sheets

Group 6: Workplace and Supplier labels

Students can find good, free on-line info at:

Health Canada

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Ontario Ministry of Labour

Bright idea!
Have each student complete a Live Safe! Work Smart! WHMIS test after they complete this activity. Look in the 'tests' section of this resource to find the test.

Safety Gear

Make a list of different types of occupations and ask students to identify some of the hazards the workers may face and types of safety gear worn in these occupations. Example:

Safety Gear List
Occupation or Sector Hazards (e.g.) Safety Gear

Surgeons, dentists, vets

Germs, slippery floors

Face mask, gloves, goggles, lab coat, non-slip shoes

Nurses, hospital workers

Germs, chemicals, floors


Restaurant work

Chemicals, Slippery Floors

Apron, hair net, gloves, shoes


Cleaners, working alone

Gloves, security plan/buzzers

Landscaping, outdoor work

Sun, tools, chemicals

Hats, gloves, aprons

Laundry workers

Lifting, chemicals, germs

Gloves, safety footwear, lab coats

Child Care workers

Germs, lifting, chemicals


Home construction

Falls, falling material

Hard hat, fall arrest system, boots

Auto repair

Grease, tools, flying debris

Gloves, safety glasses, safety shoes


Machines, noise, chemicals

Safety glasses, hearing protection

Exploring worker safety issues: Different types of work arrangements

Divide the class into groups. Ask each group to choose one type of work situation from the following list of five common non-standard job arrangements. Ask them to pretend they are working under this type of work arrangement. Alternatively, this could be done as an individual assignment.

Five non-standard job arrangements

  1. Part-time work - You are working after school for 15 hours a week in a convenience store. You are often alone in the store.
  2. 12-hour shifts - You are working 12 hour shifts in a factory for the summer.
  3. Small business - You are working for your uncle in his landscaping business for the summer.
  4. Temporary contract - You are working for the local municipality at the swimming pool on a temporary contract, painting the change room building.
  5. Work-at-home - You are working for a large telemarketing company from your home using your computer

Each group should discuss the following questions and be prepared to present answers to the class for a discussion. Encourage the students to share their own experience of working part-time, on contract, etc.

  1. What are the health and safety challenges for the worker?
  2. What steps would you take to protect yourself or others working in these conditions?

Answers can be found on the LSWS website.


How about a game of charades with safety as the theme? Have students create the phrases or use some of these ideas. Get a timer and have some fun!

Class Discussion on Workplace Rights and Responsibilities

The following suggested cases could be provided to students or you can read them aloud and have a discussion about what students would do in each situation, exercising their rights as workers. You may also ask students to come up with situations they have faced in the workplace that they would like to discuss or roleplay.

Encourage students to say what went well in the situation and what did not. Discussion points are included for your use.

The Right to Know:

Situation: Jim the supervisor gives Mary, a worker, a container of a chemical to use for cleaning grease off the stove. The container is not marked. It does not have a WHMIS label. Mary asks Jim what kind of chemical it is and if he has a Material Safety Data Sheet for it. Jim replies that he will examine the supplier label for this product that is on another container, read the Material Safety Data Sheet and provide the information to her. He also arranges to get the label put on the container immediately.

Discussion: Mary could have refused to use the chemical right away, but she chose to communicate her concerns to her supervisor first. She recognized that there is a hazard in not knowing exactly what she would be using, assessed the situation and found that she did not have the information that should be provided to her. Jim listened to Mary, and noticed that the container was missing the required label. He found the necessary information so that Mary could work safely, using the proper safety precautions, and by doing so, corrected a situation that could have endangered Mary.

The Right to Participate:


Paul notices that shelves at the store are too high, and stacked with heavy items that could fall on him or customers. When Julie, his supervisor, asks him to stack more items on top of the items already on the shelf, Paul is concerned. Everything looks wobbly and someone could easily push it the wrong way and everything would come crashing down. He tells Julie that there is a hazard because items could tip and fall off the shelf. Julie agrees, and they safely remove the items and store them back in the stockroom. When the health and safety committee members are conducting a workplace inspection Paul suggests that additional shelves could be installed for safer stacking.

Discussion: Paul exercised his right to participate and informed his supervisor of a hazard that could hurt workers or the public. His supervisor followed her duties to ensure that the workplace is safe by removing the items from the shelf. Paul also participated by informing the health and safety committee member of the situation. The safety committee can make the recommendation to management about additional shelves.

The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work:

Situation: A different supervisor, Alex, is covering for Julie, Alex tells Paul to restock the shelves, this time with heavier items. Alex wants all the stock to be up on the shelves, including each of the new fifty pound items.

Paul tells Alex that he and Julie discussed the danger of stacking items too high, especially heavy items. Paul also tells Alex that he now only has a foot stool since another department is borrowing his ladder, and, without a ladder, he would have to climb on the shelves to reach the top. Alex dismisses this, and curtly tells Paul to get the merchandise off the floor since customers will be coming in soon. The problem will be examined later. Paul refuses to do the work under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Alex and the health and safety committee member that represents workers examine the situation, and conclude that the shelves cannot be stacked with any more items. They tell Paul, who is standing nearby, of their decision. Alex promises the committee member that he will write a memo to management to ask for more shelving.

Discussion: Whether too busy or not, Paul was aware that the shelves were not adequate to hold the material, that it was too high, and that he could be hurt by falling items or fall himself by attempting to climb onto shelves to stack them. He told his supervisor, but the situation was not addressed and he was asked to perform a task that he felt was unsafe. By refusing to work, Paul exercised his right to be safe.

Fire Extinguishers and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

As you know, one of the learning expectations in the Ministry of Education's Cooperative Education policy document is for students to have an understanding of safety equipment, including fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors.

The Internet is a good source of Ontario and Canadian fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide detector information. Have the students search for relevant information to present to the class or download a tip sheet from one of these Canadian sites. You may also want to check with your municipality. Many have written information they can provide. Here are a few comprehensive sites:

Fire extinguishers:

Industrial Accident Prevention Assn. (IAPA) tip sheet

Fire Prevention Canada

A web site dedicated to fire extinguishers

Carbon monoxide detectors:

The Ontario Fire Marshal's Office:

Fire Prevention Canada

Canadian Standards Assn. (CSA)

Canada Mortgage and Housing (search for carbon monoxide detectors)

Safety BINGO!

Hand out bingo cards to students. Customized BINGO cards created specifically for this safety game (30 different ones!) can be downloaded from the LSWS website look for BINGO. If you want to play a few rounds, you will need bingo chips or something similar. Otherwise, students can mark their cards with a pen, pencil or marker.

Rather than just having to match letters and numbers, in this special edition of BINGO, students will have to correctly answer a question about workplace safety and find the correct answer on their cards.

Someone should have a one-line BINGO once you have asked 15 questions. At that time, you can have them clear their cards and you can start the second round with the next question in the list. Otherwise, you can play for a full card.

Bingo questions:

  1. How old do you have to be to work in construction?
  2. What safety gear do you wear when things can fly into your eyes?
  3. Who is always responsible to provide a safe workplace?
  4. What's the first thing you need to get if you are injured?
  5. What workplace right can you use if you are asked to do dangerous work?
  6. Who can you call if you have a serious concern about your workplace?
  7. What type of job requires workers to wear fall protection?
  8. How old do you have to be to work in a restaurant kitchen or a factory?
  9. What type of workplace has hazards such as hot grease and slippery floors?
  10. What type of safety gear should workers who collect grocery carts wear?
  11. When should a worker receive safety training?
  12. Construction workers building houses must wear this safety gear.
  13. What national system is in place to advise us of chemical hazards?
  14. Every worker needs to be told about this in case there is a fire.
  15. How old do you need to be to work in an office?
  16. What is the common term for the protective devices that keep machines safe?
  17. This material was formerly used to insulate buildings, but it was dangerous.
  18. These people in the workplace must report hazards to their supervisors.
  19. In these workplaces workers may get muscle injuries from computer work.
  20. If you are working over 10 feet/3 m. off the ground, and you can fall, you must wear this type of safety device
  21. Exposure to this hazard can cause permanent hearing loss.
  22. These people in the workplace must make sure you use safety equipment on machines and wear the safety gear you're required to wear.
  23. These groups are required when there are 20 or more workers at a workplace.
  24. Ministry of Labour inspectors do this when they come to a workplace.
  25. This type of safety gear is worn when handling hot objects.
  26. Every employer must provide this to their workers.
  27. Workers in this sector may be exposed to biological hazards/germs.
  28. When you adjust your chair so it is at the proper height so you are sitting comfortably at the computer, you are showing good____________.
  29. If you are working on a machine, such as a table saw, you must remove this.
  30. You need very special training to operate this equipment at a workplace.
  31. If you are unsure about how to operate a machine at work, this is what you are supposed to do.
  32. This deli equipment must be used with a guard to keep workers' hands away from the rotating blade.
  33. This is one of the most common types of injuries workers suffer.
  34. This job hazard can be caused when something is spilled.

Bingo card answers:

  1. 16 years old
  2. safety glasses
  3. employers
  4. first aid
  5. right to refuse
  6. Ministry of Labour
  7. roofing
  8. 15 years old
  9. restaurants
  10. safety vest
  11. before working
  12. hard hats
  13. WHMIS
  14. emergency procedures
  15. 14 years old
  16. guards
  17. asbestos
  18. workers
  19. offices
  20. fall protection
  21. noise
  22. supervisors
  23. safety committee
  24. inspections
  25. gloves
  26. training
  27. health care
  28. ergonomics
  29. jewellery
  30. fork lift
  31. ask for help
  32. meat slicer
  33. cuts
  34. slippery floors

Download custom bingo cards at the LSWS website.

Making safety top-of-mind... literally!

Prepare two pads of 'sticky notes' with 20 to 30 different workplace and safety words or phrases. A few ideas to get you started have been provided.

Divide the students into two teams. An opposing team member places a 'sticky note' from the top of their deck of 'sticky notes' on an opposing team member's forehead so that everyone else, but not the wearer, can see.

On the player's turn, he or she asks the other players questions about the item on the card. These questions can only be answered with a "yes," "no," or "maybe." A player can ask as many questions, and make as many guesses, as possible during a timed period you determine (one minute may be appropriate).

What's fun about it? Students will spend time talking and learning about the workplace and learning workplace safety vocabulary, while using deduction skills. They'll have some laughs about the questions and answers coming from the players asking about something that they can't see.

Sticky Note Activity Words
re alarm chemicals


safety glasses

pay cheque

deep fryer

refuse to work

rubber gloves

minimum wage

worker rights

fire extinguisher



steel-toed shoes



fork lift truck


seat belts

hard hat

broken ladder

sweeping floors

hot liquids


lifting boxes


grocery cart



fire drill

slippery floors

speak up

ask questions


Case Studies make things right!

Read the situations below and engage class in a discussion to determine the hazards the worker was exposed to and have them come up with ideas for preventing it from happening again. Answers are provided for you.

Case Studies of hazards and how to prevent them
Situation Hazard/Issue Prevent it!

Sarah is employed in a nursing home kitchen. To clean large pots and pans, she must soak them in a powerful cleaning solution. She received WHMIS training and was shown how to do the work safely. She wears gloves and an apron. One day, she was removing three pots from the sink at the same time, when they slipped out of her hands and back into the water. The cleaning solution splashed all over her face and in her eye causing temporary blindness.

Dangerous cleaning



Eyes not protected

  1. Use a safer cleaning product.
  2. Use disposable pans.
  3. Use the dishwasher.
  4. Have workers clean only one pot at a time.
  5. More training on how to handle large pots and pans.
  6. Provide chemical splash goggles if using this dangerous product.

Jeannine works in a fast food restaurant. One day, she slipped on a greasy floor. In an attempt to catch her fall, she tried to reach a grab bar near the grill. She missed it and her hand touched the hot grill instead. She suffered second degree burns on the palm of her hand.

Slippery floors


Access to the hot grill

  1. Design the area so the grab bar is not so close to the grill.
  2. Cover the floor with a non-skid mat or on-skid flooring.
  3. Put a shield on the grill when not in use to keep people from accidentally touching it.
  4. Put a cover over equipment that uses grease to prevent it from splashing out.
  5. Immediately clean up spilled grease.
  6. Design the traffic flow so workers do not walk past the grill.

Daniel works in a grocery store stocking shelves. One day while unloading a heavy box from a truck, he slipped and fell because the pavement was wet from rain. He felt a sharp pain in his lower back. He was embarrassed, so he got up and tried to keep working. It kept bothering him, so he finally went to the doctor. He had to stay off work for a week to recover. His back still hurts sometimes.

Lifting and moving

heavy boxes


Slippery walking


  1. Find out if there is a mechanical device that can be used to lift and move heavy boxes.
  2. Pack boxes with less weight.
  3. Unload trucks in a sheltered area so workers aren't exposed to weather, wind or wet surfaces.
  4. Assign 2 people to do the job
  5. Train workers how to lift and move heavy loads.
  6. Wear non-slip footwear.

Arlene works in the deli department of a grocery store. Her supervisor asked her to clean the meat slicer, although she had never done this before and had never been trained to do it. She thought the meat slicer was turned off when she began to clean it. Just as she started to clean the blade, the machine started up. The blade cut a finger on her left hand all the way to the bone.

Unguarded machinery


Untrained worker

  1. Put a guard on the meat slicer to keep hands/fingers away from the moving blade.
  2. Unplug the machine or lock out the power source when the machine is being cleaned.
  3. No worker is allowed to use the meat slicer (or any powered equipment) unless they are trained.
  4. Provide supervision.
  5. Wear cut-resistant gloves.

Chris works for a city public works department. One hot afternoon the temperature outside reached 30 degrees. While Chris was shoveling dirt in a vacant lot, he started to feel dizzy and disoriented. He fainted due to the heat.

Over exertion



  1. Establish procedures to limit outdoor work on very hot days.
  2. Have a cool place to go to rest.
  3. Provide frequent breaks.
  4. Drink lots of water.
  5. Train workers on heat stress and procedures for working on hot days.
  6. Ensure workers are well supervised so if they faint, someone can act immediately.

Michael works in a busy pizza shop. His job is to pat pizza dough into pans. He prepares several pans per minute. Lately he has noticed that his hands, shoulders and back are hurting from the repetitive motion and standing for long periods of time.

Poor body position


Repetitive motions

  1. Review the job and set up the work station so that Michael can sit when doing his work.
  2. Rotate the job so that he does this task for a short period of time, then switches jobs with another worker before coming back to this.
  3. Provide training on easy stretches and exercises he can do to help keep muscles limber.

Carrie works tying up cauliflower leaves on a farm. One day she was sent into the field too soon after it had been sprayed. No one told her that the moisture on the plants was a highly toxic pesticide. Soon after she began to work, Carrie's arms and legs started shaking. When she stood up, she got dizzy and stumbled. She was taken to a clinic. She still had headaches, cramps and trouble breathing a few days after the exposure.

Exposure to



Lack of training and


  1. Reduce or eliminate use of harmful pesticides.
  2. Wait the required number of hours or days after the crops are sprayed to re-enter the field.
  3. Notify workers of dangers.
  4. Wear impervious gloves and clothing if exposure is possible.
  5. Wear a respirator if it is necessary to go into the field when pesticides are present.

Carrie works tying up cauliflower leaves on a farm. One day she was sent into the field too soon after it had been sprayed. No one told her that the moisture on the plants was a highly toxic pesticide. Soon after she began to work, Carrie's arms and legs started shaking. When she stood up, she got dizzy and stumbled. She was taken to a clinic. She still had headaches, cramps and trouble breathing a few days after the exposure.

Exposure to



Lack of training and


  1. Reduce or eliminate use of harmful pesticides.
  2. Wait the required number of hours or days after the crops are sprayed to re-enter the field.
  3. Notify workers of dangers.
  4. Wear impervious gloves and clothing if exposure is possible.
  5. Wear a respirator if it is necessary to go into the field when pesticides are present.

Jason works in a convenience store. He and the other employees take turns working the closing shift. It makes him nervous to be at the store by himself late at night, but he knows if he reuses the closing shifts, the owner may fire him. The owner has told him to give up the cash in the cash register if he is ever faced with a robbery, but he is still very uncomfortable during this shift.




  1. The employer should set up a comprehensive robbery protection program and train workers on it.
  2. Ensure there are safe cash handling procedures.
  3. Install cameras and emergency buttons as appropriate.

Adapted from source: NIOSH: Youth @ Work Talking Safety California

Safety Primers

On the pages that follow there are six one-page primers on a variety of workplace health and safety topics:

These can be used in several ways, including a handout for students to summarize the basics and reinforce lessons, or an assignment. To use as an assignment, break the class into groups so that there are 6 groups one per safety topic. Assign each group a safety topic and provide a primer. Ask them to prepare a 5 page PowerPoint or oral presentation with overheads on their topic and deliver it to the class.

Watch Out! Physical Hazards Are Common Causes of Injuries

Working safely with machinery

Every year in Ontario, workers lose fingers, arms, legs or their lives from injuries caused by working with powered machinery or equipment. Injuries most often occur when equipment is not guarded or locked out (in a lock-out procedure, a lock is placed on a machine during maintenance so no one can turn the power on) or when the operator has not been properly trained or supervised.

Machines don't think. They only do what we tell them to do or what they're programmed to do. Young workers must learn to respect machines and never assume that they know a machine well enough that it can't hurt them. They must not operate equipment without a machine guard in place. If hands, clothes, or tools can access any of the moving parts, hot spots or high voltage conductors, the guard is missing. Missing or improperly used guards can result in severe cuts, amputation or even death. Employers are required by law to train workers to use machine safely.

Working safely with electricity

We live with electricity. The hazards confront us every day. In most cases, safeguards are built in to protect us, such as ground fault interrupter outlets in our bathrooms and three-pronged plugs on electrical cords. Despite this, every year in Ontario serious injuries and deaths occur in the workplace as a result of contact with electricity. Workers need to be able to recognize hazards when working with electrical equipment.

Working safely in kitchens

Cuts and burns are common causes of injuries to all workers and to young workers in particular. Using knives and working safely around sources of heat like ovens and deep fryers requires proper training and a constant of awareness of hazards. Even a tipped coffee pot can cause a serious burn!

Preventing slips, trips, and falls

Falls are one of the most common ways that people get hurt at school, at home and at work. People trip over things that have been left on the floor, drawers that have been left open, boxes that have been left in walkways anything that is where people do not expect it to be. A really dangerous situation is falling from a height when standing on a chair, or working on a ladder, a roof or any high place. Remember, you don't have to fall far to be seriously hurt.

Working safely with mobile equipment

Unsafe operation of mobile equipment can lead to serious injury or death for operators and poses a serious injury or death for operators and poses a serious risk to all other people in a workplace. About half of deaths involving mobile equipment involve the operator and the rest occur when people are struck and killed by mobile equipment in the workplace.

One of the most common pieces of equipment in the workplace is a lift truck, or forklift. Today forklifts are not only in manufacturing plants, but can also be found where we shop for groceries and hardware.

Operating a life truck is not like operating other vehicles. Workers must be adequately trained before operating them, and must understand the hazards associated with their operation. This includes understanding protective devices as well as Ontario regulations for proper use. Even if they are not operating lift trucks, workers have responsibilities to stay in safe areas if lift trucks are being used.

There is an Ontario Ministry of Labour guideline that describes the necessary skills and knowledge for operators of powered lift trucks. It also describes the components of a good forklift management program and provides standards for maintenance of lift trucks.

The guideline is free and can be found on the Ontario Ministry of Labour website.

Working with chemicals (WHMIS)

When working with chemicals in the workplace, the most important thing workers need to be familiar with is WHMIS, the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. It is a national system for providing information on the safe use of hazardous materials in the workplace. Products that fall under WHMIS legislation are called controlled products. These products are usually packaged and sold for commercial use. At home we normally use consumer products, such as the cleaning products purchased at the grocery store. Consumer products and drugs are not covered under WHMIS, but do carry their own set of international hazard symbols.

WHMIS became law in Ontario in 1988. The purpose of the legislation is to:

There are four main components of WHMIS:

1.   Classification of products and hazard symbols

WHMIS groups chemicals with similar properties or hazards into six main classes. Each class has a specific symbol to help people recognize the hazard quickly.

2.   WHMIS labels

The distinctive WHMIS label conveys health hazard information to the product user. WHMIS legislation sets out standards for the design and contents of labels. Suppliers, employers and sometimes workers are all responsible for labelling products.

There are two different types of labels used in WHMIS:

3.   Material safety data sheets (MSDSs)

An MSDS is a comprehensive document prepared by the supplier to provide the user with pertinent information about the properties of products, how to use them safely and what to do if there is an emergency. WHMIS legislation requires that employers make current MSDs expire and must be replaced three years after they're issued.

4.   Worker Education

The legislation requires employers to provide information and instruction to all workers who use or handle or work in the presence of WHMIS controlled products so that they have the knowledge to help protect themselves from injury or illness. Education should include: information about the products used; what the hazards are; safe use, handling and storage procedures; use of personal protective equipment stipulated in the MSDS; and what to do in case of emergency.

Classroom education can cover these basics, but it is up to the employer to provide specific training on the products handled in the workplace.

Germs! Handling Substances That Can Make You Sick (Biological Hazards)

Biological hazards can be encountered at home, at school and outdoors. The term biological hazard isn't used frequently at home or at school. It means hazards that can be caused by animals, plants or microbes, like bacteria and viruses, which affect our health. In short they are germs!

Different biological hazards can cause a range of health effects. Some are minor and temporary in nature, but others are associated with life-threatening reactions or disease. Ragweed pollens can cause seasonal allergies or asthma (for sensitized people who have developed the allergy.) Viruses can cause skin, eye and ear infections, as well as colds and the flu. Peanuts or bee stings can cause serious asthmatic or anaphylactic reactions (where breathing becomes very difficult.)

Biological hazards or biohazards can be transmitted in many ways, including:
Preventing exposure

You can reduce the risk of spreading germs (or getting sick) through the simple act of washing hands frequently. This is especially true for stomach flus, colds and influenza.

Always wash your hands after using the washroom, visiting infectious people, being outdoors or handling animals. These are all places where 'germs' can be picked up and spread to others.

When hands may be contaminated and have not been washed care should be taken to avoid touching your face, particularly the eyes, nose and mouth where infection is more likely to take hold.

Jobs where contact with biological hazards is likely:

Avoiding Strains and Sprains (Ergonomics)

Ergonomics literally means 'laws of work.' The word ergonomics is made up of two Greek words: 'Ergos' meaning 'work' and 'Nomosï' meaning 'laws.' These 'laws' of work are simple: our physical capabilities must match the demands of the tasks we are doing. When this matching is in place, it helps us stay healthy. The process of matching people and tasks is a continuous one. The goal is to meet the needs of our various and changing capabilities as well as new tasks we undertake. Consider the chair you're sitting on. If it was a foot lower in height, would you be sitting as comfortably as you are? Your knees would be up in the air and you probably couldn't see over your desk. The designer considered who would use these chairs and how they would be used. Matching the product to the user is ergonomics in action.

Tasks that can cause strains and sprains:

.How much force can the person comfortably apply? If a person has to constantly lift, push, pull, grab or press and exert force beyond their capabilities they will eventually suffer a strain or sprain.

How tall is the person and how much do they weigh? A student who weighs 60 pounds shouldn' be carrying the same amount in their backpack as a classmate who is 20 pounds heavier.

The second consideration has to do with the tasks we ask a person to do. The tasks must be studied to determine how a job must be done and what stresses it may put on the body.

The third consideration is the time spent performing a task. When analyzing a task from an ergonomic standpoint it's important to consider both how long the task must be performed and how many times it must be done in a typical working day.

Once human capabilities and job demands are analyzed, the strengths and weaknesses of the person need to be analyzed and weighed against each other to determine the most appropriate solution for the individual. Our bodies experience strain when our capabilities do not match job demands. Prolonged strain results in pain and injury which may cause impairment and disability.

It's important that young people understand that seemingly benign tasks like working on a computer, stacking shelves or scanning goods at a checkout counter can actually be quite hazardous if ergonomic considerations are ignored.

Safety Gear

Personal protective equipment (PPE) protects our bodies from inhaling, ingesting or absorbing hazardous substances. It can also protect us from puncture wounds or contact with hot, sharp or otherwise dangerous materials.

Gloves, safety glasses, respirators, masks and impervious clothing are common types of PPE. In many workplaces in the construction and manufacturing industries, hard hats and safety boots must be worn at all times to protect against injury from physical hazards, such as falling items or sharp objects

In workplaces where exposure to biological or chemical hazards is a concern, personal protective equipment is considered to be the 'last line of defence.' It is not acceptable to simply provide workers with respirators when steps can be taken to reduce or eliminate the source of potential exposure.

PPE is often used in conjunction with safe work practices, on an interim basis when other controls are being put in place, during repair work, when other controls cannot be used, or during emergencies.

Common Types of Personal Protective Equipment

Wherever students work, even if they are working or volunteering as cooks, gardeners, or gathering grocery carts at a supermarket, they must be adequately protected from hazards in their surroundings.

The use of personal protective equipment is one method of providing that safety factor. It is the worker's responsibility to wear the required safety gear and to notify management if the equipment has defects or doesn't fit properly. If, for example, safety glasses fit loosely around a worker's nose and can slip off, the problem should be reported and the glasses immediately replaced with a pair that will stay in place to prevent objects or liquids from getting in the worker's eyes.

Employers must make provisions for safety equipment, which in most cases means they will supply it, but that doesn't prevent them from asking workers to buy and wear safety equipment to work (the best example being safety footwear). Employers also must provide information, instruction and training to protect the safety of a worker, which includes training in the proper use of protective equipment.

Rules for the Proper Use of Personal Protective Equipment

Safety Rules! Workplace Laws

When we start to drive a car there are lots of things to learn: the Highway Traffic Act (the rules of the road); how to maneuver the car; safe, yet defensive driving; and many things to learn: the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the regulations that apply to the job (the rules of the workplace), our rights and responsibilities as workers, how to ensure the work we do is safe, and what questions to ask to protect ourselves and those working around us. Learning about occupational health and safety can protect your students from serious injury or even death. Some young people wish they had known more about health and safety before they took on their first jobs.

Health and safety information is critical. Each year in Ontario tens of thousands of young workers file a claim with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board because they have been injured at work. Far more injuries go unreported. Sadly, some young workers even lose their lives on the job. Injuries and deaths are preventable. Being prepared with a few key safety lessons is one way to help students prepare for an injury-free work experience.

Employment Standards Act, 2000

The Ministry of Labour administers the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and its employment standards officers enforce the Act and its regulations. It is the law that contains Ontario's basic rules about working and employing people. Employees and employers have rights and responsibilities under the ESA. It sets out provisions for important aspects of work such as:

Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) was formerly called the Workers' Compensation Board and some people still use the short version of the old name WCB.

The WSIB's vision is to eliminate all workplace injuries and illnesses. Their mission is to serve the people of Ontario by promoting safe and healthy workplaces, and by providing an insurance system for injured workers and employers. As part of this system, the WSIB provides disability benefits, and assists in early and safe return to work for workers who are injured on the job or have an occupational disease.

The WSIB is responsible for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, another important law that was created to help promote safe and healthy workplaces to help workers who are injured or ill at work return to work quickly and safely and to provide compensation benefits while they are off work due to injury.


What are my responsibilities at work quiz

This simple nine question quiz reinforces workplace safety roles and responsibilities with your students. Positive behaviours will be reinforced. Note that this can be an oral quiz, and may be more suitable for special needs students

Download questions and answers.

Scavenger hunt quizzes

The official Ministry of Labour website for young and new workers provides easy to access, complete information on both employment standards and health and safety rights and responsibilities of workers all in one place! There's information on minimum wage, what to do if injured at work, vacation pay, time off, how to talk to the boss about safety issues, what laws apply to young workers, as well as links to other important safety resources.

Turn the website into a learning experience: check out our scavenger hunt quiz. It's a great tool to get your students thinking about the rules of the workplace. There are questions about both employment standards and health and safety written by Ministry of Labour experts. There are three versions of the test. Choose the one that will best suit your students:

  1. Regular scavenger hunt quiz
  2. Scavenger hunt quiz for students with special learning needs
  3. Scavenger hunt quiz for students in Grades 7 and 8

Download them at Live Safe! Work Smart! Look for the scavenger hunt quiz in the 'Most Popular Downloads' on the right side of the home page.


From short clips to full videos, the Ministry of Labour website has a variety of workplace safety videos aimed at youth and suitable for your class.

It's Your Job: Prevention Starts Here Student Videos

For several years, the Ministry of Labour has run a video contest encouraging students to express their ideas about workplace safety in a video. Prizes are awarded to the winning teams and their schools and the winning videos are posted on the ministry’s web site. Most are quite short and suitable to insert in a PowerPoint presentation and may resonate well with youth since it was created by their peers. These are free and ready for you to download. They appear “as is” – most are English, a few are in French.

Workers' Compensation Board: British Columbia

"Lost Youth" is a video that tells the stories of four young people who sustained serious, life-altering injuries at work. The language is graphic and some of the sequences are disturbing, but many teachers find it hits home in the classroom. An edited version is also available. The two versions of the video are available for download as well as a free downloadable discussion guide to turn this video into a full class interactive activity.

WorkSafe BC has a large selection of free videos ready for download on a wide variety of safety topics. Note that there may be different safety requirements in Ontario than what is depicted in the BC safety videos, and that the Workers’ Compensation Board in British Columbia does not have a requirement for providing resources in French, so these videos are in English only. Visit the WorkSafe BC website or more safety videos.


Section 7 - Resources Suitable for Cooperative Education


This list of resources has been assembled keeping in mind the Ministry of Education Cooperative Education policies relating to health and safety, and the needs of the classroom teacher handling experiential learning.

Each resource or web link on the list has been reviewed to see that there is information that suits these special needs. Websites change and information contained on the web can become out-of-date quite quickly, but at the time of this printing, all of these links were active. Often other cooperative education and apprenticeship teachers have come across suitable materials and we encourage them to pass that information on to you and to us, so that we can include updated 'gems' on the Live Safe! Work Smart! website.

List and Description of Websites and Resources
Resource Description

Live Safe! Work Smart!

Written by health and safety professionals, produced by the Ministry of Labour in partnership with the Ministries of Education and Training, Colleges and Universities, and the WSIB, Live Safe! Work Smart! provides comprehensive resources for Ontario teachers developed to match health and safety curriculum expectations from Grades 9 - 12. Within the CD are lessons, overheads, handouts and exercises well suited to cooperative education and apprenticeship.

Ministry of Labour

Young Workers

The Ministry of Labour's main web site always has the latest information on minimum wage and all matters that affect Ontario workers. Health and safety resources, information about employment standards, recent employer fines and convictions it is all here. The Ministry of Labour’s Young Workers web page has a variety of resources for both teachers and students and also information on the student video contest.

Check Live Safe! Work Smart! for classroom-appropriate resources!

Sector-Specific Resources

The Associations in the list that follows are Ontario's health and safety associations. Most are sector-based, but two, The Workers' Health and Safety Center and the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers cover all sectors. Each is a valuable source of workplace safety information for students and teachers. Some have videos that would be great for your classroom, many have free downloads your students may benefit from, and most have comprehensive resources for purchase.

Bright idea!

Have students do some research about their placement by searching the website of the health and safety association that oversees its safety. For instance, if your student is in forestry, they will go to the Workplace Safety North (WSN) web site. If their placement is in a factory, the Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) web site will be helpful. For construction, students would go to the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA) web site, etc.

List of Ontario's health and safety associations by sector
Sector Health and Safety Associations Phone E-mail Internet


Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers





Workers Health and Safety Centre




Agriculture, Industrial/ Manufacturing and Service Sectors

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services


1-877-494-WSPS (9777)


Forestry, Pulp and Paper, and Mining

Workplace Safety North




Education and Culture, Community and Health Care, Municipal and Provincial Government, and Emergency Services

Public Services Health & Safety Association




Transportation, Construction, Electrical, Utilities, Aggregates, Natural Gas, Ready-mix concrete

Infrastructure Health & Safety Association