When Matthew Bowcott landed a job as a cook at a restaurant at age 19, he was so happy about it, he started planning a career in the industry.
“I’ve always had an interest and a passion for cooking,” he said. “I was excited that I got the job and like most young workers I wanted to impress.”
One evening shift, as part of his closing duties, Bowcott emptied the deep fryers and was carrying a 10-gallon pot of 375-degree oil for disposal. At the same time, one of the other cooks was spraying water on the kitchen floor and Matthew got a gut feeling something wasn’t right.
Moments later, Bowcott’s feet slipped on the wet ceramic tile, spilling hot oil on his body and face, missing his eyes, nose, and mouth by a quarter of an inch. Had he swallowed the oil, his organs would have been burned and he would not have survived.
Bowcott will share his story with high school students at Frank Hurt Secondary (13940 77 Ave.) on Thursday, Sept. 29, Friday, Sept. 30 and Monday, Oct. 3.
Having experienced a serious workplace injury, Bowcott is able to authentically describe the harsh reality, the pain and the long-term consequences.
According to WorkSafeBC, the injury rate for young workers has improved, while the rate at which young males are injured continues to be higher than the provincial average.
In 2015, 6,900 young workers were injured on the job – an average of 19 per day.
Bowcott is part of WorkSafeBC’s Young Worker Speakers Program, which aims to raise young worker awareness of their right to refuse unsafe work and to promote their health and safety on the job.
To attend one of his speaking sessions, call the school at 604-590-1311