For me younger workers should be commended in today’s economy. In my experience no one can doubt their drive and work ethic, but unfortunately this can actually be detrimental to businesses. How? To certain extent younger or apprentice workers often are not as experienced as most in spotting and reporting unsafe practices, but they are more than happy to demonstrate their abilities to impress by stretching their capabilities. Due to a combination of: lacking health and safety training and gentle immaturity, younger workers are more at risk than you think. Here are my top tips for better health and safety training for younger staff.
5 Top Tips for Keeping Young Employees Safe in Your Workplace
- Risk assessment is key. You should already have risk assessed your work activities, but you should review the assessments to ensure they have taken into account the specific needs of young workers, including factors such as a lack of maturity or physical capability. An example is manual handling, whereby a young worker might not be able to carry the same weight as an adult.
- Full training must be given on the work activity, and the associated hazards and control measures. Ask for young workers to explain the information back to you, if you are unsure whether they have understood it.
- Ensure there is the correct level of supervision. Often, young people are unaware of the specific hazards they may encounter in the workplace, especially if they are new to work.
- Select suitable work activities in relation to the young person’s psychological capacity and ability to understand and follow instructions. Certain high-risk activities such as those involving hazardous substances, excessive heat or cold, vibration or noise may need to be avoided if the risks cannot be suitably controlled.
- Establish clear rules as to what young workers can and cannot do in the workplace. It might be useful to put up signage on certain machines that should not be used, or areas not to be accessed, as a visual reminder.
If you require further information on health and safety training, please contact Emma at Walker Health and Safety Services.