Making an Impact in the Classroom

Over the years, we have learned that to make a real impact on the way young people think about safety, we need to do more than simply teach them how to stay safe. We need to convince them that workplace safety isn’t an afterthought or something that can be ignored. We have learned that the most effective way to reach young people is to make it personal.

When we bring injury survivors into schools to tell their story, suddenly a workplace injury is no longer an abstract idea – it is a real thing that happens to real people and the evidence is right there in front of them.

Daniel shares his story with teachers and students at Springbank Community High School near Calgary AB

“In my shop I had a student tell me he was ‘thinking of Daniel’ when he used the table saw. He went and got push sticks.

They all can’t believe he is alive. The pain he endured really resonates with them. We talked lots about how he said ‘it will never happen to me.'”

– Shop and CTS Teacher in Breton AB.

“The students could not believe that safety wasn’t always top priority.”

“They were stunned by how simple a ‘fix’ it could have been to prevent his accident.”

– Teacher in Leslieville AB

The idea that “it would never happen to me” is all too common among people of all ages, but especially young people. This is why it is so important and so impactful when we are able to confront them with the reality that these things do happen, and they happen to people who are not so different from them.

This school year, we visited 9 schools across South and Central Alberta in the fall and spring with Daniel Shoemaker. Daniel spoke candidly with students about what it was like to lose his arm in a horrific workplace incident while working on a drilling rig. He was open an honest with students about his own mindset leading up to the incident and the culture among his crew that didn’t value safety or see it as important. These are the types of stories that students need to hear more of, and they need to hear them repeatedly.

Access for Everyone

Bringing speakers like Daniel face to face with students is the ideal method for confronting them with these stories, but we want to ensure that all students across Alberta have access to these stories. This is why we produced a course called

This is why we produced a course called Life Lessons – Learning the Hard Way, which features a filmed interview with Daniel, as well as interviews with a young woman who was severely injured in a crushing incident working as a Heavy Duty Mechanic, and a father who tragically lost his 21 year old son in a falling accident on an Alberta job site. This course is accessible at any time, anywhere.

This course is accessible at any time, anywhere with an internet connection just like any of our other courses.

We have also produced four other experience-centred courses:

  • “That’s Got to Hurt!”  takes students through 6 stories submitted to us through contests by Safety in Schools students that explore incidents or near-misses that they either witnessed or encountered at work.
  • “Heavy Machinery”  introduces students to the dangers inherent in working with large, moving equipment and best practices for managing those dangers, and then takes them through 4 case studies of injuries and fatalities involving heavy machinery.
  • “Introduction to Automotive Shop Safety” introduces students to the hasards associated with working in a retail or commercial automotive shop, utilizing a case study of a very serious injury sustained by a 17 year old worker to drive home the importance of working safely and understanding how to perform your job correcrly.
  • “The Hole You Dig: Ground Disturbance Gone Wrong” teaches students about the rippling impact that ground disturbance damages have on the surroundingcommuity and the societal costs associated with damage events, as well as the steps involved in digging safely in order to avoid these scenarios.


Follow the instructions in our Teacher’s User Guide to enroll users in these courses today!