Lauranna Ji and Marjolaine Beauchamp, from Randstad Canada, are on a mission to keep workers safe across the country. They live and breathe workplace safety and work to create the best innovative practices that are making Randstad and the staffing industry proud.
“We love what we do and there is so much to be done. We comply with the labour legislation, but at Randstad that’s never enough,” says Marjolaine, Randstad’s health and safety manager, eastern and western division of Canada. In 2014 & 2017, Randstad was the honoured recipient of the ACSESS Health & Safety Award, which is presented to a staffing leader who demonstrates outstanding achievement in workplace health and safety.
A big focus of Lauranna and Marjolaine’s work is protecting young and highly vulnerable workers – aged 18 to 24 – who are starting their first job and are eager to make their mark. Shockingly, in Ontario every single day 42 young workers -- or roughly 10,000 per year -- get sick, injured or die while on the job. In Québec this number is 15,000 every year and Canada’s other provinces have similar stats.
The good news is that these tragic incidents are preventable and Lauranna and Marjolaine are striving to raise awareness and minimize these outcomes.
“More than half of the accidents affecting young workers occur within their first six months on the job,” explains Lauranna, Randstad’s senior manager, health and safety, central division of Canada. “Training is critical during this time. I never knew about my rights before I started working. As the mother of two young boys, I strongly believe in educating and developing safety awareness from a young age.”
Six years ago, Lauranna began volunteering as a safety advocate for Ontario’s Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) to help educate high school students about their safety rights.
“There is nothing I would rather do. I’m inspired by my parents who immigrated here from Hong Kong and worked in horribly hazardous positions, in jobs that wouldn’t exist today.”
Every year she delivers hour-long interactive presentations to more than 100 students at high schools in the Greater Toronto area – including the one she attended. She shares an overview of the WSPS’s health and safety fundamentals, such as: why students need to care about health and safety, employer responsibilities, workers’ rights, making sure protective equipment fits properly and the importance of reporting workplace hazards.
“I typically speak to grade 10 or 11 classes. Many of the high school programs across Canada have a co-op term to expose students to different sectors. I like to do my part, working with their teachers to help them prepare.”
During a recent session at a Mississauga high school, Lauranna spoke to an animated audience of 40 students about to begin their latest co-op work terms.
“At every single session, I am shocked. Students tell me about workplaces where there is little to no training or supervision, or they are asked to do things that they weren’t trained to do,” says Lauranna. “Many are working in fast food restaurants. I can’t tell you how many students I have met that have deep fried their fingers or splashed hot oil on their hands.” One of the students candidly shared how he was burned in the kitchen while doing his job, was confused about what to do, so he decided to go home.
During every presentation, Lauranna shares a video of a young man in B.C. who lost his arm when he was pinned under a forklift that went out of control. He couldn’t shut the machine off because he had received no training. “It’s ridiculous how preventable this type of accident is,” says Lauranna. “I tell the students, ‘You need to listen to your gut. If you don’t feel safe, you need to leave the job site and speak with your supervisor.’”
Lauranna’s personal goal for every session is to make sure every student knows they must have training or an orientation on their very first day of work, which should include an overview of the three critical R’s:
1. Right to Know: You have the right to know how to do your job safely and should be made aware of any hazards in the job.
2. Right to Refuse Work: If you believe the work is unsafe, tell your supervisor or employer and explain why. If a problem cannot be fixed, a Ministry of Labour inspector is called to investigate the situation.
3. Right to Participate: Ask questions. Report any hazards to your supervisor. Take your health and safety training seriously and put what you can into practice.
Marjolaine is just as committed to protecting young workers. She applies her passion internally to educate Randstad’s employment consultants so they can share these new insights and ignite this oversight in their clients and candidates.
The Young Workers’ Squad is a group of young ambassadors, working on behalf of Quebec’s Commission des normes, de l'Équité de la santé et de la securité du travail (CNESST). They travel across Québec just before the summer job season kicks off to raise awareness about safety to workers less than 24 years of age.
“I invited members of the Young Workers’ Squad to all of our offices to tell their stories and provide training to our internal consultants,” says Marjolaine. “My objective was to give our consultants a feel for what it’s like to be a young worker who’s hesitate to speak up and is perhaps afraid to share concerns that make them uncomfortable.”
Marjolaine was hired six years ago to build a health and safety program in eastern and western Canada. Her accomplishments are vast and include establishing ambassadors in each office. “Health & safety ambassadors are my eyes and ears in each of our branches. They participate in quarterly health and safety meetings, share concerns, look at trends, and contribute in any way they can to help minimize injuries.” She visits more than 140 client sites every year and finds they value having an expert to partner with them in making the workplace environment safer. “When I visit clients, I often review their health and safety program or policies. Some have programs that vary between employee or staffing candidates. I assist them with modifications and add value to their health & safety management program, and last but not least, appease them by ensuring that their HSMS program is compliant and safeguards all employees.”
Randstad has successfully launched two successful marketing campaigns over the past four years with two components: client awareness and candidate awareness. Content focused on key areas, such as candidate orientations, workplace inspection and personal protective equipment.
Lauranna and Marjolaine’s tireless commitment has positioned Randstad Canada as a leader in protecting their candidates and clients. Says Marjolaine: “It’s all about engagement and building relationships across our organizations -- from junior consultants to senior management. Everyone is committed at Randstad and we’re proud to support this valuable work. We owe it to young people across Canada to increase their odds of a safe work experience.”