In yesterday’s Advisor, we got expert advice on employers’ responsibilities, including training, to keep young workers safe. Today, we outline in more detail the areas in which young workers need to be trained.
As we detailed yesterday, statistics show that young workers are twice as likely to be injured on the job as older employees. Young workers may be injured because they lack the following:
- Job experience
- Understanding of risks, safety rules, and procedures
- Good judgment and impulse control
- Safety training
You can help make up for many of these deficits by ensuring that supervisors train young workers how to do jobs correctly and safely. Overall, supervisors should:
- Never assume that a young worker will understand what could go wrong.
- Recognize that young workers may not always follow the rules.
- Demonstrate job procedures and safety precautions.
- Take the time to clearly explain the risks of not following the proper steps.
- Train one-to-one with young workers and observe them performing tasks.
If a task involves using or working around any kind of equipment, supervisors should demonstrate how to use the equipment safely and explain such essential safety precautions as:
- Proper use of machine guards
- Procedure for starting and stopping equipment
- Procedures for feeding and removing materials safely
- How to report equipment problems
- Leaving machine and electrical repair and maintenance to trained, authorized people
Other safety issues on which young workers must be trained include:
- Keeping areas clear around exit doors and sprinklers
- Keeping aisles and other walkways clear of obstacles
- Cleaning up spills promptly (for example, water, coffee, and lubricants, but not hazardous material spills, which should be reported and cleaned up by trained and properly equipped workers)
- Lifting properly (powering the lift with legs, not back)
- Checking labels and, if available, safety data sheets (SDS) for chemicals, cleaning products, and other materials to identify hazards and safety precautions
- Placing tools, sharp objects, and other potentially harmful items in their proper locations—and never where they could accidentally fall, puncture, or cause other injuries
- When and how to use personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as where to get it, how to inspect it, and how to remove and store it properly
Young workers must also be trained on what to do in an emergency and should be familiar with:
- Emergency action plan
- Fire alarms
- Emergency exits and evacuation routes
- How to report emergencies
- Location of fire extinguishers and first-aid kits