This interesting post by SafetyCulture.com.au highlights the risks involved with employing young or inexperienced workers in construction. While there are benefits to hiring these types of workers, there are also many risks. This post by SafetyCulture.com.au has more:
Over the last few years Queensland has seen a rise in the number of young workers injured in the workplace. The number of injuries is also greater when compared to their older counterparts.
There are particular qualities that are associated with young workers and they have a distinctive risk profile. The fact that they are in the process of growing, developing and maturing in all aspects of their life seems to set them apart from older workers and it is thought that their inexperience and increased risk taking tendencies feeds into this part of their profile.
Often as workers age and gain more experience many of these inherent challenges may either reduce or even disappear altogether however there is opportunity to engage young workers in increasing safety rather than waiting for them to gain the needed experience.
This can be done with specialised training that targets young people and addresses their particular behaviours.
For employers and OHS personnel that need to train young people can better reach them if they keep in mind that:
Young workers may not see risks due to their higher risk thresholds.
Work tasks need to be given to young people that fits their emotional, physical, intellectual developmental profile.
Young workers have been raised on different technology and their methods of learning are likely to be different to those of older workers.
Talking to young workers about OHS considerations will have long term benefits for them as well as the organisation.
Young workers need to receive the appropriate induction before beginning work on site, that includes site specific and general construction training. Young workers also should receive the appropriate amount of supervision while becoming accustomed to the work and the site.
Young workers are also susceptible to bullying, so employers should encourage them to speak up and encourage an open relationship so they feel comfortable and are able to communicate with other workers, employers and management. Also it is helpful to engage these young workers in identification and control of hazards on site. Also ensure they know the correct procedures and are able to report any incidents if need be. They should also be encouraged to ask questions about site safety.
Also discussion with young workers about Occupational Health and Safety will benefit them in the long run for them as well as the company they work for.
According to WorkSafe young workers require special attention as follows:
Young workers may:
still be developing physically and mentally.
lack the experience, knowledge or skills to understand the risks involved in work they are doing.
undertake work that they are not able to do, because they have not been properly trained or supervised.
not be aware of their OHS rights and responsibilities – they may not feel confident to ask questions or speak up if there is a problem, for fear of looking incapable or losing their job.
follow the lead of more experienced workers who don’t always set a good example for OHS in the workplace.
What the statistics show
18% of workers are aged 24 or under.
Almost half of all 15-19 year olds (44%) and over two-thirds of all 20 – 24 year olds (69%) were engaged in some form of work (ABS Census, 2006)1
Young workers have the highest proportion of work-related injuries – 17% higher than the average across all ages. 2
Young workers have a higher rate of hospitalisation – 21% higher than other age groups.
It is estimated that 50% of young workers who are injured at work do not make a claim for an injury sustained at work.3
Most young workers are employed in retail, hospitality, construction or manufacturing.
The most predominant injuries sustained by young workers are musculoskeletal injuries and open wounds. These are usually caused by hitting or being hit by objects, body stressing, and slips, trips & falls.
Posted by Steven Asnicar