Construction Safety Update: Make Sure you Keep Young Workers Safe

Is your business doing everything necessary to keep new and young workers safe or are these workers just left to their own devices once on site?

WorkCover NSW has issued a reminder to all businesses about the need to ensure the safety of young workers following the high number of injuries suffered already this year by apprentice workers. Many of these injuries have occurred on construction sites and involved electrical apprentices, plumber apprentices and general workers on construction sites.

Another 2 young workers were injured last week Wednesday while engaging in carpentry work. An 18 year old apprentice was injured while assisting in moving floor sheeting off a pallet with a crane when the sheeting dislodged and hit him, causing him to break one of his legs. Why an apprentice was allowed to operate heavy machinery like a crane is questionable. Crane work is dangerous and requires workers who are suitably certified, trained and experienced, which this young worker clearly was not.

The second incident involved a young apprentice carpenter who was injured when a trench collapsed, causing a slab of concrete to fall onto him, causing him serious injuries to his back and legs.

Read this post from SafetyCulture.com.au explains further:

young-worker-150x150“With thousands of young people entering the workforce for the first time after finishing school and the Christmas/New Year’s holiday period, it is essential for everyone in the workplace to step up and take special care to alert young workers to potential safety hazards,” said Mr Watson.

“Workers aged under 25 may be more vulnerable to workplace safety risks because of their youth and inexperience or reluctance to speak up about safety concerns,” he said.

“Around 12 percent of all employment injuries and occupational diseases occur among the State’s 572,000 young workers.

“During 2009-10 almost 5,000 compensation claims were lodged by young workers with the most common injuries being muscular stress while lifting, carrying or putting down objects.

Source: http://www.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/03/workcover-nsw-ensure-safety-of-young-workers/

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that they have the appropriate systems in place to keep all workers especially new and young ones safe. Sufficient training, support and supervision is required for these workers and good communication should be established with them so that they feel free to raise any safety concerns or ask about anything they are unsure of.

The post goes on to state:

WorkCover offers the following suggestions for employers and workers to help prevent injuries:

For employers:

  • Provide adequate training and supervision in all tasks
  • Provide a comprehensive induction
  • Identify safety risks and put in place procedures to reduce and control the risks
  • Encourage open communication about safety issues

For young workers:

  • Follow all safety procedures and ask questions if uncertain
  • Report any risks and hazards to a supervisor or colleague
  • Use safety equipment and protective clothing if needed
  • Do not fool around with machinery

Source: http://www.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/03/workcover-nsw-ensure-safety-of-young-workers/

 

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