Workers arefar more likely to be injured in workplace accidents during the first fewmonths of a new job than at any other time says the British Safety Council. Withthe holiday season approaching, employers are urged to pay extra attention tothe health and safety of young people hired for temporary, summer work.
Bytaking some simple steps, says Alex Botha, Chief Executive Officer at theBritish Safety Council, the risk of injury to young workers can be easilyprevented. Vacation jobs are a great way for young people to earn money, getsome experience and develop skills but we know they can be particularlyvulnerable when they start work, he said. There are many reasons for this: ageneral lack of work experience; unfamiliarity with the workplace, machinery orwork processes; a lack of physical capability to do the job or the confidenceto raise concerns; a failure of employers to provide the necessary training andfamiliarisation.
Leadershipis key in preventing injury to a young person at the start of their workinglife. Organisations need to ensure that safe and healthy work practices are therule and they have a culture that promotes and values safe behaviour. The firststep is to plan ahead and establish what the risks are – risks from lifting,working at height, using machinery, moving around the site, inhalation of dust,are the most common ones. Then using the knowledge of experienced staff decidehow best to control these risks including through the provision of relevanttraining. Do check that young people have understood what they have beentaught.
TheBritish Safety Council is determined to keep health and safety simple and has apriority to reduce the risks young people face at work. We have worked closelywith schools and have provided resources to help them develop hazard awarenessamong young people. We have a dedicated website that is easily accessible, withinformation that is simple to understand and advice that is helpful for anyemployer working with young people. I strongly advise employers to check outthe resources we have made freely available.
Riskeducation is crucial to achieve the British Safety Councils vision that nobodyis injured or made ill at work. Its Speak Up, Stay Safe campaign highlights theparticular risks that young people face and puts good communication at theheart of good health and safety. A dedicated website with information, factsheets on the law and good practice, top tips on working with young people aswell as videos and links to organisations like the Health and Safety Executive(HSE), is freely available at https://www.britsafe.org/speakupstaysafe