Up until recently, very little attention was focused on a hazard that while not visible to the naked eye can be as debilitating, if not more, than many physical workplace hazards.
Psychosocial hazards that may affect young workers include bullying, threats of violence, sexual harassment and stress.
Young workers are especially vulnerable to psychosocial hazards because of natural feelings of intimidation dealing with older individuals, some of whom may be more senior than they are in their workplaces.
They don’t have a reference point for what is ‘normal’ in a workplace due to lack of experience, especially if on their first job.
They also may be too afraid to either confront or report any kind of workplace harassment, especially if it relates to their bosses for fear of getting fired. Given the high rates of unemployment for young workers in some regions of Ontario, their tolerance level may be higher than it usually might be.
No workplace sector is immune to psychosocial hazards. They could be:
- Sexual harassment of a restaurant employee or a golf course beverage cart girl
- Bullying to an apprentice in a manufacturing facility
- Extremely long hours causing undue stress to a young worker on a farm operation
- Young workers need to know that their worker rights protect them from any kind of psychosocial hazard. They also need to understand that they cannot be fired for reporting any incident or ongoing behavior that impacts them.