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Young Workers Have Rights Too

April 11, 2018 0 Comments

A man, who survived a massive personal injury in a work accident, is educating other young labourers about their rights to a safe work environment. Eric Olivieri got himself a summer job to earn extra spending money over the summer; instead, he earned himself a trip to hospital with a body full of scars and bruises. In August 2007, Olivieri arrived at his summer job full of anticipation and excitement ready to help when he was needed. However, in doing just that, he was crushed by a 10-tonne nuclear reactor. Shattering injuries As a result, his upper arm was shattered, his bicep and triceps were also maimed, he broke his pelvis and femur, shattered his knee and was stabbed in the neck. A worryingly point is that Olivieri’s story is not uncommon. Around 42,000 teenagers his age all suffer from workplace injuries due to health and safety breaches. Olivieri said: “A guy jumped on top of me to stop the bleeding. I felt tired and peaceful. I thought I was dying.” He received six blood transfusions that day and almost lost his leg. Doctors told him that he may never walk again. For months he was bedridden while recovering from his injuries. For a normally active person, this was a devastating reality. “It felt like someone pressed pause on a remote and placed me on a shelf. I was forced to lay there and watch while everything else whizzed by. I lost a whole year of my life,” Olivieri commented. Safety first, pay later Olivieri, who is now 18-years-old, is alive and kicking. He began his quest to educate people on workplace safety during a speaking engagement at a Health and Safety discussion at a Youth Forum. He re-lived his horrific injuries to more than 2,000 students, in the hope that they will always remember to stay safe at work. He hopes his story can reach young workers, parents and employers to prevent someone from suffering a similar fate. He said that: “People need to realize that there are thousands of jobs out there, but you only have one life. So what if you get fired, you don’t want a job that could cost you your life.” Olivieri has learnt the hard way that young workers have the right to refuse unsafe work and he wishes he’d known and believed that, the day he was injured. He also said: “Something about helping move that nuclear reactor didn’t feel right. There were bells going off in my head, but I didn’t listen to them. I wanted to pull my weight and didn’t want the other workers to see that I was scared. I now wish I hadn’t wanted to be so cool.” He added:”After surviving this accident, I wanted nothing more than to protect others from going through this. I want people to know that they have a right to a safe workplace, and that asking questions, receiving proper training, and knowing the risks of your job are essential to arriving home alive.”

Have you been injured in a work accident? Find out of you can receive an accident claim by speaking to one of our injury lawyers.

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