Employers Urged: Take Care of Youngsters in Summer Jobs

British Safety Council asks employers to take extra care of young workers starting in summer roles

Speak up, stay safe says the British Safety CouncilStatistically, workers are most likely to be injured at work in the first few months of their jobs than at any other time.

That’s the message from the British Safety Council who are urging UK SMEs to take extra care of their workers who may be starting work for the very first time.

As the summer holidays approach, some school leavers may be taking their first steps on the career ladder and getting into a summer job to earn their keep.

Even if these summer jobs may be temporary, employers still have a duty of care to ensure that their new recruits, no matter how long they stay on, are looked after.

The British Safety Council says that, by taking some simple steps, employers can ensure they are reducing the risks and looking after their young employees.

Alex Botha, Chief Executive Officer at the British Safety Council, says that the risk of injury to young workers can be very easily prevented:

“Vacation jobs are a great way for young people to earn money, get some experience and develop skills but we know they can be particularly vulnerable when they start work. There are many reasons for this: a general lack of work experience; unfamiliarity with the workplace, machinery or work processes; a lack of physical capability to do the job or the confidence to raise concerns; a failure of employers to provide the necessary training and familiarisation.”

“Leadership is key in preventing injury to a young person at the start of their working life. Organisations need to ensure that safe and healthy work practices are the rule and they have a culture that promotes and values safe behaviour. The first step is to plan ahead and establish what the risks are – risks from lifting, working at height, using machinery, moving around the site, inhalation of dust, are the most common ones. Then using the knowledge of experienced staff decide how best to control these risks including through the provision of relevant training. Do check that young people have understood what they have been taught.”

“The British Safety Council is determined to keep health and safety simple and has a priority to reduce the risks young people face at work. We have worked closely with schools and have provided resources to help them develop hazard awareness among young people. We have a dedicated website that is easily accessible, with information that is simple to understand and advice that is helpful for any employer working with young people. I strongly advise employers to check out the resources we have made freely available.”

The British Safety Council is helping businesses to become aware of workplace risks as part of its Speak Up, Stay Safe campaign.

With educational material for both youngsters and their employers, the camapign aims to reduce injuries and illness in the workplace.

The new website is packed full of fact sheets about the law and best practice and has numerous tips for employers and employees.

For further information, see the British Safety Council’s Speak Up, Stay Safe website. There’s also a @speakupstaysafe twitter account and a facebook page too.

Related Articles

For more business advice on how to make your workplace a safer place, see our articles on An introduction to managing health & safety, Fire Safety Regulations and Your Health and Safety Obligations towards Homeworkers.

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