Like all workers, students enrolled in the Work-Oriented Training Path (WOTP) program are exposed, during their practicums, to occupational risks that may endanger their health and safety. Despite the many different work contexts they have to deal with, teachers are responsible for ensuring that each student is placed in an appropriate practicum situation in terms of occupational health and safety (OHS). This toolkit is designed to equip teachers to safeguard their students’ occupational health and safety. It contains:
- 14 information sheets on the main OHS risks
- Tips on how to observe the work and recognize risky situations
- A questionnaire to be used to raise the OHS issue with employers
- A list of OHS resources for developing their knowledge of OHS.
What is Work-Oriented Training Path?
The Work-Oriented Training Path (WOTP) is one of three educational paths under the Quebec Education Program (Secondary Cycle 2). It is offered in all school boards in Quebec to students aged 15 and over who have difficulties at school. These conditions may be associated with learning difficulties, adjustment disorders or other disabilities.
Work-Study Co-Op Program
The Work-Oriented Training Path includes two co-op program options that involve work placements as a learning method. The trades that students can learn in a practicum are listed in the Directory of Semiskilled Trades of Quebec’s Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur (MEES). Over one hundred trades are identified.
Research Project on which Toolkit is Based
The toolkit has been developed on the basis of a research project conducted with teachers who supervise WOTP work placements and employers who host students in their companies.
The results show that students may face a wide range of hazards related to the many different trades involved and the location of the practicum. Teachers focus on raising students’ awareness as an accident prevention strategy, based on their own occupational experience and information gleaned from specialized websites. Most teachers say they put their trust in the common sense of the employers involved to ensure the OHS of their students and admit they sometimes shy away from raising the issue with them, as they say they have limited OHS knowledge and fear the topic could put employers off from taking on students. It is essential to discuss the issue with companies, however, as school boards are responsible for the OHS of their students. This toolkit provides suggestions for raising the topic constructively with students and companies.