Inquest reports on kids at work tragedy

Jury recommends consent forms, emphasis on health and safety

An inquest jury looking into the deaths of two children at the Welland John Deere Plant during Take our Kids to Work Day last November, presented a series of recommendations late last month.

In its statement, the jury recognized the educational value of the Take our Kids to Work program, endorsing its philosophy and goals, and encouraged John Deere’s continued involvement in the program.

Two 14-year-olds, Robert Fulbrook and Amanda Peat, were killed when they accidentally crashed a small motorized vehicle they were driving. Take our Kids to Work Day is an annual event held to encourage children to visit their parents’ workplace, to help prepare them for the working world.

The recommendations made by the inquest jury include:
•Develop informed consent forms that contain workplace health and safety messages, signed by both students and parent or guardian stating they understand the events in which the student will be participating.

•Develop a common agenda consistent with health and safety policies and guidelines setting restrictions which apply to students in the workplace.

•Ensure students are under adult supervision at all times in the workplace.

•Although “hands-on” is a beneficial teaching method, under no circumstances allow a student participating in any educational program to operate any motorized vehicle.

•Remove all keys from the ignitions of motorized vehicles on Take our Kids to Work Day.

•Employers should ensure all employees and parties involved thoroughly understand the dates of, agendas for, and safety rules which apply to, any educational program which involves students in the workplace.

•A mandatory orientation session incorporating safety rules and hazards geared to students participating in any educational program to be conducted by a qualified health and safety representative upon arrival at the workplace.

•The Learning Partnership (creators of the program), the Business Education Council of Niagara and all workplaces ensure that any continued participation in the Take our Kids to Work or any other educational program which involves students in the workplace continue to explore, improve and implement regulations regarding health and safety.

•The Learning Partnership includes in its resource materials, details of any legislation relating to minimum age requirements for workplaces.

•Consider feedback from all parties to be incorporated to amend or develop future agendas.

•Govern the speed limit of any motorized vehicle (without a speedometer) in a factory environment to ensure safe operating practices. The jury feels uncontrolled speed may have been a contributing factor.

•Adopt a zero-tolerance policy for ignoring health and safety guidelines.

The Business Education Council of Niagara and the John Deere Welland Works Plant were instructed to provide a response to the Office of the Chief Coroner regarding the recommendations, within one year.

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