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Young workers – an endangered species?

As you may know, young workers are deemed more at risk than adults for various reasons; which relate to lacking of life experience, not fully understanding just how dangerous situations might be, unsure of when to seek help, enjoying unsuitable ‘horseplay’ etc. 

As a consequence, we have extra duties of care and legal requirements for the safety of young workers. These include assessing their special exposure to risks and putting plans in place to deal with this. 

This is all well and good but it takes some imagination to ‘get your head around this’ and to make meaningful plans. Here is the point where we would like to offer some useful tips. They don’t cover all circumstances or work environments. Ultimately this is for you to work on. But here are some suggestions to start you off.

Induction

All new workers should be given an induction on arrival at the workplace. This may not be your standard induction (if you already have one). You might need to think how you will do this for young workers, some of which will only be used to being taught at school or college and may be uncomfortable with asking questions and might take everything at face value. 

  • Show and instruct on how to use the equipment and how they must safely wear/use any protective kit, such as gloves, safety footwear and goggles.
  • Help them to get to know the workplace.
  • Introduce them to their team; their supervisor, health and safety representative as well as their workmates.
  • Explain health and safety policies and procedures—including where to get support, first aid and emergency evacuation procedures.
  • Explain where they fit in and what their responsibilities for safety in the workplace.
  • Check within a week or so to make sure they are still clear on their understandings so far, and encourage them to ask questions.

Training

Each job will present hazards and risks. Training should show workers how to carry out their job safely and how to recognise and report hazards on the job. Young workers need extra support with the do’s and don’ts to keep them and others safe.

Buddies

You might like to consider implementing a “buddy” system – pair up young workers with experienced and safety aware people who are good role models who are keen to help.

A buddy can:

  • Work alongside the young worker.
  • Support the young worker about work and workplace issues
  • Answer questions and pass on skills, knowledge and experience.

A “buddy” does not take responsibility from supervisors and management to provide information, supervision, training and help. But they can fill what might be a significant need to help young workers become settled in the workplace and help keep them and others both safe and healthy.

How can we help?

The Safety Organisation Ltd can help in two key areas:

Management - We can provide advice and training to management, aiding you to induct and train new employees effectively, helping to create a safer workplace for all. We can also assess your health and safety policies and procedures, drafting updates where required. 

Young workers - We can provide health and safety training to young workers and new employees, providing them with the foundations for working safely from the outset.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help your business, please call us on 0800 111 4207, or contact us here.