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Ensuring a Safe and Healthy Workplace

Students in the Retail Store Services Program, Canine Careers Program, and Health Related Occupations Program at the Eastern Suffolk BOCES Islip Career Center recently participated in a New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Healthy (NYCOSH) training. Founded in 1979, NYCOSH has worked to defend every person’s right to a safe and healthy workplace. They offer training, education, and advocacy.

Susan McQuade uses a PowerPoint presentation to engage students in interactive training.

Students try and find the hazards in a working environment and then they discuss what they can do to protect themselves.

NYCOSH representative Susan McQuade told the students about their rights. They have the right to a fair and full day’s pay for a full day’s work, the right to overtime pay, the right to be safe, the right from harassment and discrimination, and they have the right to organize (meaning they have the right to get together with co-workers to improve working conditions).

Most young people work in the retail industry and half are injured or killed on the job. Many are not given protective equipment, they do not receive education and training, and they are asked to do work that is against the law for their age. A person under the age of 18 cannot drive a four wheel vehicle; slice meat with a machine, manufacture brick or tile, work on a roof, or do demolition work. There are many more jobs that are dangerous and against the law for workers younger than 18 years old to do. This information can be found on the NYCOSH website.

Retail Store Services Teacher Ginny Rios said, “Our students are learning skills to work in areas like food service, health care, retail, and maintenance. It’s important they are educated about their rights and how they protect themselves. We invite a representative from NYCOSH to speak to our students each school year.”