Summer is coming and many employers take on additional staff, including teenagers who are new to the workforce.
These new workers need special attention and training in workplace safety as they have no experience on the job. Every year about 70 teenagers die while working in the U.S., while another 100,000 are injured seriously enough to require emergency room treatment.
Keep in mind there’s a lot you can do to prevent injuries to your teen workers, and the measures you take to keep them safe will help protect all employees.
The first thing is that you need to know the law and OSHA workplace safety and health regulations. Check your compliance and make sure teens are not assigned work schedules that violate the law, or given prohibited tasks like operating heavy equipment or using power tools. Make sure they have their work permits if under 18.
Make sure also that your supervisors who give teens their job assignments know the law. Encourage supervisors to set a good example, as they are in the best position to influence teen attitudes and work habits.
Ensure that all jobs and work areas are free of hazards. The law requires you to provide a safe and healthy workplace. Involve every worker in your Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
Train teens to put safety first. Give clear instructions for each task, show them what safety precautions to take and point out possible hazards. Prepare teens for emergencies, accidents, fires and violent situations. Show them escape routes and explain where to go if they need medical treatment.
Your teen employees are the next generation of workers. You will help them develop personal skills that make them more likely to go on to further their education and succeed in life.
As you hire these young people, know that you do make a difference.
Educating them about professional standards, workplace health and safety, rights on the job, and how to communicate effectively will shape the workplaces of the future, as well as keep your business running smoothly.