Who are vulnerable workers?
Vulnerable workers are those workers who have greater exposure than most to injury and illness due to their lack of experience, reluctance to ask questions, communication barriers and type of work.
The term vulnerable worker does not just apply to one group. Some workers are more vulnerable to workplace injury, either due to language barriers or because they are new or young workers. There are many kinds of vulnerable workers, including those who:
- Recently moved to Ontario from another province/country
- Just started their first job
- Just returned to work after a long absence
- Do not have appropriate documentation and/or who are refugees
- Do not have adequate English language skills
Young workers aged 15-24 are three times more likely to be injured on the job than more experienced workers. Young workers are particularly vulnerable to workplace injuries and illnesses as they are typically involved in seasonal, contract, part-time or casual work, and often change jobs frequently. This, combined with a lack of experience and reluctance to ask questions, puts young workers at a greater risk as they may lack the ability or the resources to understand their rights and responsibilities at work.