What are the principal reasons young/temporary/new workers suffer higher injury rates than longer term employees?
Limited or no prior work experience and a lock of safety training are the reasons for higher injury rates.
WHY IS IT RIGHT
Young/new workers have high rates of job-related injury. These injuries are often the result of the many hazards present in the places they typically work, such as sharp knives and slippery floors in restaurants. Limited or no prior work experience and a lack of safety training also contribute to high injury rates. Middle and high school workers may be at increased risk for injury since they may not have the strength or cognitive ability needed to perform certain job duties.
For a century the New Worker was at an increased risk for occupational injury and fatality. That higher risk is due to a lack of safety training and experience at that worksite.
Just a few decades ago, temporary work was relatively rare and concentrated in white-collar professions.
But in recent years their numbers have grown dramatically, and temporary workers are now commonplace in virtually every type of workplace.
Securing temporary workers often lowers costs (the temporary workers are paid as much as 30 percent less than permanent workers) and increases flexibility by enabling host employers to increase their workforce without making a long-term hiring commitment.
As the economy picks up steam, these numbers are rising again, and more employers are filling jobs with temporary workers. As their numbers grow, many more will be injured or killed.
Why is this happening? Many employers decide to forego important safety training for their temporary employees that would normally be given to permanent employees.
They bring in “temps” for a few days, weeks or even months, and the employer’s commitment to these workers’ safety mirrors that “temp” status.
The reason? Employers hire temps to save money. Safety training is a cost of doing business, so some employers just skip it or erroneously assume that the staffing agency has conducted the training – gambling not only with their own bottom lines, but with the lives of these men and women who want nothing but to do an honest day’s work and come home safely to their families at the end of the day.
All of these categories of workers are subjected to the same stimuli.
The following are the real reasons why these 3 groups are injured in the workplace.
- Lack of training, orientation, and supervision.
- Lack of understanding of their workplace.
- Lack of preparation for the workplace.
- Exposure to more dangerous jobs.
- Hesitancy to ask questions.
- Feeling of invincibility.
- Being distracted and having other thing on their mind.
- Pace of work.
When it comes to safety, knowledge is power. Young, New and Temporary Workers should be encouraged to ask questions about workplace safety, even if they feel they’re asking something that might be obvious.
Before tackling a new job, these questions answered.
- What are the hazards of this job?
- Will I be working with equipment or machinery that could put me at risk for injury?
- What safety training will I receive?
- Will I need personal protective equipment (PPE)? If so, will it be provided to me or must I purchase it?
- What’s the company’s fire safety program?
- What do I do if I find myself in a violent situation?
- Who should I talk to if I don’t understand how to perform one of my job’s tasks?
- How do I recognize and report unsafe conditions?
- What do I do if I’m injured on the job?
- What’s my role in the company’s safety program?
WHY IS EVERYTHING ELSE WRONG
PREVENTION / PRECAUTIONS
Comprehensive Health and Safety Program
Training new workers is essential, but it is not always enough. To make a real reduction in injury, you need to do more—much more. This means developing a Comprehensive Health and Safety Program with clear, measurable goals. You also need to get senior management buy-in. Without their help, your program is likely to flop.
Employers need to allow employees to participate in making the workplace safer. Opening up communication channels between workers and management on safety issues is the first step. You also need to find out what safety issues exist at the worksite and eliminate them, showing that safety is your top priority. Near miss reporting also helps improve safety on site and involves all workers in the safety process.
Communicating effectively with workers is the goal of safety training. By repeating job task safety, you can ensure you get the most out of all your employees, reducing the risk of accidents.
Additional training methods to incorporate, include mentoring by experienced workers; hosting apprentice programs; issuing clear, short, and concise written procedures; and providing worker practice time.
Workers of all ages can be injured at work, but young and new workers may be more at risk. Injuries can result from inadequate training, orientation, and supervision; inexperience; and lack of awareness of workplace rights and responsibilities.
Orientation (sometimes called an induction) is the process of introducing new, inexperienced, and transferred workers to the organization, their supervisors, co-workers, work areas, and jobs, and especially to health and safety. Providing training and extra assistance during the initial period of employment is critical, as they are not familiar with the hazards of the job or the workplace.
During this phase, each worker develops the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are necessary to work in a safe and healthy manner. While training (or refresher training) is always important, training should always be provided when employees are:
- transferred to jobs or work areas they are unfamiliar with
- returning from an extended period away from work
- who are new to the work force
SAFEGUARDS FOR NEW EMPLOYEES
- Training- Even if a new employee has many years of experience on the job at another company they still need comprehensive training on their job at the new company, jobsite, and the company’s expectations.
- Mentoring- Many companies use some type of mentoring program to ensure that individuals who were recently hired have someone to ask questions and get guidance from. This allows these workers to be more comfortable approaching a more experience employee with any questions he or she might have.
- Supervision- Newer employees or even just workers completing new tasks need to be supervised. Proper supervision may not necessarily mean an employee’s immediate supervisor. Depending on the task, a subject matter expert or a senior employee may be more beneficial for supervision of newer employees. Just like mentoring, a newer employee may feel more comfortable and get more out of being supervised by someone else other than their immediate supervisor.
For Young/New/Temporary Workers
- Ensure that young, new and temporary workers receive training to recognize hazards and are competent in safe work practices. Training should be in a language and vocabulary that workers can understand and should include prevention of fires, accidents and violent situations and what to do if injured.
- Implement a mentoring or buddy system for young, new and temporary workers. Have an adult or experienced young, new and temporary workers questions and help the young, new and temporary workers learn the ropes of a new job.
- Encourage young, new and temporary workers to ask questions about tasks or procedures that are unclear or not understood. Tell them whom to ask.
- Remember that young, new and temporary workers are not just “little adults.” You must be mindful of the unique aspects of communicating with young workers.
- Ensure that equipment operated by young, new and temporary workers is both legal and safe for them to use. Employers should label equipment that young workers are not allowed to operate.
- Tell young, new and temporary workers what to do if they get hurt on the job.
New, Young and Temporary Workers’ Responsibilities
- following all reasonable instructions for doing the job;
- following workplace procedures;
- not putting yourself or your co-workers at risk;
- wearing personal protective clothing and equipment (PPE) as required; and
- reporting unsafe situations and injuries to your supervisor, employer and/or a safety and health representative (if there is one).
Young workers should ask if they are not sure about anything at work.