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Experience counts for a lot in this world. But as well as experience, we also need the youthful vigour and energy of young people to keep the wheels of industry turning. Young people are the future of business, in every field from engineering to finance but crucially they do lack the experience in the workplace, something which is essential for keeping them safe.

 

Young people come into the workplace, often an unfamiliar environment where they might not know anyone, and they are often keen to prove themselves. This can be a recipe for success but also disaster.                                                                                                                                                       

The prevalence of accidents, injury and even death amongst 15 to 24 year olds is very high. EU-OSHA has reported that younger people are 50% more likely to be injured at work than their older colleagues. They are also far more likely to suffer from occupational injury. So, it is very important to stress the importance of health and safety in the workplace, as well as PPE


Practical advice for improving safety for young workers

 

In the first six months of any job you are most at risk. New machinery, unfamiliar surroundings and an unwillingness to report major concerns are all big factors in poor safety records. The lack of maturity and occasionally physical strength also contribute. So, training and supervision are understandably very important.

 

An initial training or probation period with extensive training in all aspects of on site health and safety is very important. Work-based learning is essential for helping younger staff members to gain experience.

 

It’s also essential to enforce and stress the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and to ensure they are aware of the Health and Safety Executive legislation around workplace safety. This includes a working knowledge of their rights, mandatory safety measures and equipment to be used.


Raising awareness of the dangers


Young people often have a misplaced confidence in their own safety and well being. This can lead to overlooking key dangers and potential hazards at work. So, you need to work with them to help them understand the particular dangers in the workplace. This includes slip and trip hazards, lifting, repetitive injury risks, exposure to chemicals and many more.


You also need to try and build confidence and make the procedural process of raising concerns easier. By encouraging this, we can help to use their energy and skill set to the advantage of everyone else in the workplace too.


If young people are the future of business, then we need to look after them and make sure they are safe and happy at work. Through good induction, training and risk assessment development, it is possible to reduce the number of accidents involving younger employees in the workplace.


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