Ensuring Safety of New and Young Workers

Forklift safetyEarlier this year, an 18-year-old worker was killed while working with machinery at a Corman Park worksite. The worker died before he reached the hospital.

In Great Britain, another worker, age 29, was killed after only a couple of hours on the job. The forklift truck he was operating overturned and crushed him. Sadly, it was discovered that the young worker was killed because he was not wearing his seat belt while manoeuvring the machine around waste material. These mistakes could have been addressed through proper training prior to allowing the new worker to operate the truck.

These tragic stories exemplify the high level of risk new and young workers are faced with at the workplace when they are not trained properly or educated sufficiently on how to carry out their jobs safely.

As an employer, you also need to be aware of the risks you undertake when you hire a new and/or young worker. Review the information below for specific guidance on how to protect new and young workers.

Provide Structured, Thorough Training

A new, young worker may feel pressured to prove his or her ability to do the job and/or may be embarrassed to ask questions. Simply asking if the worker understands safety protocol is not enough. It is in the best interest of everyone at your workplace to ensure every worker is completely competent when doing high-risk tasks. To ensure new and young workers understand workplace risks and safety procedures, consider:

  • Requiring new and young employees to repeat safety procedures aloud as a supervising employee demonstrates a task. This technique allows the supervising employee to verify that new or young employees correctly understand the safety procedures, and it brings relevance to certain safety precautions that may have seemed abstract on paper.
  • Require new and young workers to demonstrate procedures with a supervising employee present, prior to working solo. While working, the workers should explain the safety protocols they are following and why they are important.

Create Reminder Resources

It’s important to provide new and young employees with reference materials that outline procedures as well as whom they should go to if they have questions. New workers must take in a lot of information during their initial training and may accidentally miss steps when they first begin working solo. Documentation of proper procedures provides a reminder that allows an employee to feel confident that he or she is performing the task in the safest possible way.

The bottom line—you can avoid becoming the next business featured in a tragic headline if you keep safety and training policies top of mind.



© 2015 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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