Work health & safety is an important part of any HR policy, and every business has a duty of care and legal requirement to train their staff correctly. However, you might not be as aware of the attention that is needed specifically when it comes to young workers.
Young workers (those between the age 15 and 24) are engaged in the workforce in a wide range of ways. It would be easy to expect these workers to know how to look after themselves and others in the workplace. However, that is not the case at all. Think back to what it was like when you started your very first job - did you think about safety, risks, and hazards back then?
Given this, it is absolutely vital that HR professionals, business managers, team leaders and health and safety specialists, understand how critical young worker safety is. Australian based workforce compliance guru's WorkPro have identified a few key reasons young workers are most at risk of serious injury, and what you can do to protect them.
Their physical & cognitive abilities are still growing
It can be easy to forget that workers who are 25 years or younger lack the same physical attributes and cognitive skills as older staff, and this can impact the workplace in several ways.
Online elearning & safety inductions are one of the most efficient ways to prepare workers with practical, job-specific safety training so they begin their role with safety in the back of their mind. This can be completed in their own time without being on site and can be tracked and monitored digitally.
All employers have a duty of care to their whole workforce to provide industry-standard, compliant safety training. It means all new workers, including those who are younger, are beginning their roles with confidence that their health and wellbeing is being looked after.
They lack experience & maturity
When you don't have years of work experience to draw from or the maturity that you can only get from learning from your mistakes, your daily performance is at a low standard. It's as simple as that.
Older workers have faced and learned from a wide range of work risks, hazards and sometimes previous injuries. They know the personal impact, the professional repercussions that come from decisions you can make in a work setting.
Most importantly, young workers don't tend to understand the importance of speaking up and reporting risks to management. So, when they come onboard, make sure you take extra time to understand exactly where they're at, and monitor their progress.
Ineffective training & inductions
One of the factors of young worker injuries that can fly under the radar is an ineffective history of training and inductions.
If you are hiring staff aged 16-20, they could be entering the workforce for the first time. If this is the case, you don't have to worry about their previous training or inductions from other businesses. But it does mean you have to ensure they're well supported, and their first safety training and inductions are more comprehensive and suitable.
They need more supervision & mentoring support
Young workers often need more hands-on support and guidance than others to help them get confident at work when it comes to personal safety. This can be accelerated faster in your workplace by ensuring they receive suitable supervision from a manager or team leader, as well as mentoring support or buddy assistance from one of their colleagues.
Many of us learn right from wrong through experience. Supervision ensures they pick up the nuances and knowledge to build a well-rounded safety skill set. If you are proactive about safety and lead by example, they will follow.
Based in the heart of Melbourne, WorkPro has been assisting businesses around Australia and New Zealand with the background checks, police checks, safety eLearning and much more for over 15 years now.
Looking for easy way to ensure your young workers are safety conscious from day one? WorkPro's eLearning platform makes young worker health & safety simple to deliver, track and manage. For more tips and strategies to keep your young workers injury-free, download their free Young Worker Safety E-Book today!