Real Experiences, Real Impact

SeeSomethingTourPosterOne thing we have learned over the years here at Safety in Schools is that often the greatest impact can be made by sharing real life experiences. Our online courses are a great resource for learning about your rights and responsibilities in the workplace, as well as the rules, standards and guidelines that will keep you safe on the job. That information is vital, but unless you decide for yourself that workplace safety is important, those lessons won’t help you.

This is why it is so important that we offer complementary programming that is designed to get young workers thinking about why safety is so important and all the things that you are risking if you don’t take it seriously.

School Speaking Tours

In 2014 and 2015, we visited over 30 schools with Candace Carnahan, speaking to thousands of students about the harsh lessons she learned the hard way. Candace lost a leg in a pulp mill incident at the age of 21 and her life was forever changed. She shared her story with students and guided them in applying her experiences to their own workplaces.

Daniel describing the injury that changed his life to students and teachers at Springbank Community High School

Daniel describing the injury that changed his life to students and teachers at Springbank Community High School

In September 2016, we visited 6 schools with Daniel Shoemaker, a Paralympic snowboard and surf competitor who lost his arm on a drilling rig at the age of 23. Daniel hopes to inspire more young people to take their safety seriously at work by sharing his story with many more students through an ongoing partnership with Safety in Schools.

We are currently planning a second tour with Daniel, which will take place in May 2017 across communities in Central Alberta.

We plan to continue offering school tours into the future, as we have received great feedback from teachers and students alike. We are keeping a list of teachers who are interested in hosting a speaker when we receive funding for more tours. If you would like to host a speaker, please email Sara at

Experience-Based Courses

LifeLessons.jpgOver the past year, we have released two new courses to students that centre on the real life experiences of young workers.

The first, released in February 2016, is called Life Lessons – Learning the Hard Way and is centred on the filmed interviews of three people who have been directly impacted by life-altering workplace incidents. In the course, students are introduced to Nicole Sereda, a young woman who suffered a severe crushing incident while working as a heavy duty mechanic; Daniel Shoemaker, a young man who suffered the loss of his right arm in a drilling rig incident; and Fred Broughton, a father who has faced every parents worst nightmare – his family was forever changed the day they lost their son in a workplace fatality.

Each of these people shared their stories with us in the hopes that they might stop another person and another family from suffering the way they have. We highly recommend that teachers utilize this course in your classrooms to complement the rest of your workplace safety education. The filmed interviews are a great catalyst for a classroom discussion.

RealStudentsWe released a course called That’s Got to Hurt! Lessons from the Workplace in September 2016. This course was developed using real stories sent into us by Safety in Schools students through two different contests – a video contest and an essay contest. Students were asked to share a brief video or essay outlining a workplace injury or near miss that they experienced or witnessed in their own workplace, as well as the lessons that they learned from the incident. We received a good variety of stories, which confirmed for us that not only are our students working in a whole array of workplaces, but that each of those workplaces have their own hazards that young workers need to be aware of.

The winning submissions from those contests form the foundation of the course. This is another great resource for classroom discussion, as students can easily relate to the experiences shared by workers their own age.

Partnering with Ag for Life

We have also partnered up with Ag for Life, a fellow not for profit organization whose focus area is agricultural education. Ag for Life hosts several events throughout the year aimed at different age groups, from elementary school kids through high school, as well as some community events.

Sara giving a presentation about ground disturbance to a junior high group at a Young Farm Worker's Day

Sara giving a presentation about ground disturbance to a junior high group at a Young Farm Worker’s Day

By participating in Ag for Life events throughout the year, such as their Junior and Senior high school Young Farm Worker’s Days, we are able to engage with an audience that we know is performing hazardous work on a regular basis. So far, our focus at these events has been on ground disturbance, with representatives from the Alberta Common Ground Alliance helping us craft and deliver our message. In future, we would like to bring speakers with us to these events who have been injured performing the type of work young farm workers do. Ag for Life will also play a pivotal role in disseminating our elementary school aged ground disturbance program once it has been completed, helping us reach a whole new audience!