Construction is an industry where young workers often experience their first job. However, young workers (under the age of 25) are 40% more likely to suffer from a non-fatal occupational injury, making young worker safety a top priority for general contractors.
Some of the most common reasons for this increased number, are:
- Lack of training and experience
- Insufficient knowledge of the safety issues and their legal rights
- More physically demanding work than what they’re used to
- Not reporting any recognized health or safety hazards
Before a job is even advertised, it is vital to know which work cannot be performed by young workers under the age of 18, often due to the safety issues involved. Always mention any unsafe work and an age-limit clearly in the advertisement, making sure that any hazardous equipment or machinery is working well before a new job starts.
Prior to beginning work, it is vital that young workers be provided with any health and safety training required. A site orientation which points out all of the hazards and safety procedures is essential. Nowadays orientation training can easily be taken online by the young worker in advance of arrival on site, meaning that no-one slips through the gaps. Gen Z workers are more comfortable being able to interact with your company via an online portal, before they get on site.
Young workers should also be informed of their rights. For example, their entitlement to fall protection if they are working from or above a certain height. Guard rails and safety nets are two of the most common forms of fall prevention.
If a supervisor is required to focus on a young worker, then safety must remain their top priority as work begins. If a young worker feels that a certain job is unsafe then they should not be afraid to ask whether this work is necessary or if there a safer way of doing something. Also, young workers must consider the safety of others if they notice unsafe behavior or a hazardous on-site location, e.g. a busy area that is often packed up with random equipment or unused machinery.
Download our ebook to find out more about:
- Why young workers are the most vulnerable in certain industries.
- How a job should be advertised if it is considered suitable for young workers.
- The importance of health and safety training.
- How to remain safe after work begins and over time.