Back in May, the summer was a world of opportunity for 19-year-old Kellie Renwick. She had just finished her first year of university and was excited about playing in a women’s premier soccer league. But that all changed when Renwick, like many young workers in Ontario, was injured on the job. She said she never received Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training, as required by law. Nor was she told about the potential danger of the chemicals she was using.
“Two weeks after I started working there I noticed a rash appearing on my arms and legs,” said Renwick. But the rash, which caused Renwick to itch and burn constantly, began to spread all over her body and her skin began to swell. After a visit to the hospital and a specialist, doctors confirmed that Renwick had a severe allergic reaction
According to the Workplace Safety Insurance Board of Ontario, more than 40 young workers are injured or killed on the job each day and many of the accidents are preventable. Roy Ford from the Ontario Ministry of Labour said the Occupational Health and Safety Act states all employers have an obligation to conduct WHMIS and specific workplace training. The Occupational Health and Safety Act further states that Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) must be present at all work sites, so employees can read about how to handle chemicals properly.
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