How to Keep Young Adult Workers Safe On the Job
A 20-year-old worker loses her finger while cleaning a printing press. An 18 year-old dies after being entangled in a portable mortar mixer on a construction site. A 20-year old carpenter falls through a second story stairway while working for a construction company and suffers serious brain injuries.
These real-life stories highlight a big concern when it comes to workplace safety – for young adult workers. These employees are getting injured at alarming rates compared to their adult counterparts. OSHA reported that in 2013, 335 young adult workers were killed; while every 9 minutes one got hurt on the job. What are some of the reasons behind this alarming trend? Lack of experience and training as well as a sense of invincibility are just a few of the reasons young adult workers are more susceptible to injury. They also make up much of the labor force employed to do some of the most dangerous day labor jobs. Young adults working on construction sites can get injured handling heavy equipment or fall victim to heat stroke. Those in the agriculture can also suffer from heat stroke along with being exposed to dangerous pesticides. They can even die from breaking up clumps of corn in silos (which can act like quicksand and suffocate someone in seconds). Young adult food service workers also report work-related injuries due to slippery floors, sharp utensils and very hot cooking equipment. Staffing agencies and their clients share responsibility to provide a safe work environment, such as keeping restaurant floors dry and clean, providing protective clothing, and making sure new young adult workers are properly trained. However, if you are a young adult worker, there are things you can do to guard yourself from common workplace hazards, such as:
- Be aware of your surroundings and report anything that looks even remotely hazardous.
- Adhere to all safety rules and procedures laid out by your employer (and avoid taking shortcuts).
- Not be afraid to talk to your supervisor. Ask questions to make sure you’re doing your job correctly and safely.
- Always wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles and dust masks
- Refrain from distracting activities such as texting while performing your job duties.
- Take care of yourself by getting enough rest and tending to personal matters before or after your shift.
- Know your rights. You have the right to work in a safe environment and speak up if you aren’t.
At Labor Finders we take our associate’s safety on the job very seriously. Visit us to learn more and find your next job opportunity.