Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Young workers: Supporting younger employees

Young worker safety posters
Young worker safety posters
Young worker safety posters

Summer is on the way and another group of school-leavers will soon be hanging up their study books and making their way into the job market.

Being a school-leaver and starting a new job can be a risky business. On the one hand, you are young, enthusiastic and keen to impress. On the other, you are inexperienced, vulnerable and five times more likely to be injured at work during your first month than other employees.

According to, one young worker, aged 16-24, is:
  • injured every 12 minutes
  • seriously injured every 40 minutes
  • tragically killed every four weeks
Research shows that young workers are most at risk when:
  • manual handling
  • working at height
  • working with sharps
  • using vehicles or mobile equipment
  • working close to running machinery
  • working with hot substances or objects

So how can we counter these risks

Remember who you are dealing with

Some school-leavers may look like fully-fledged adults, but looks can be deceiving. In their eagerness to make a good impression they may not like to ask for help or admit they don't understand something. If they choose, instead, to use their intiative, it could be a disaster. It is important that you understand this psychology and never over-estimate their knowledge or capabilities.

Enlist the support of other employees
Every employee had to start somewhere and many will remember the mistakes they made in those early days. Your existing employees play a vital role in helping young workers to settle in, setting a good example, showing them the ropes and being there to support them.

Encourage communication
During the first few months of their new job young workers often feel worried and uncertain. One of the steps to building their confidence is to encourage them to talk about their concerns. Make sure that if they are uneasy about something, or have questions, they have someone they can talk to.

Kodiak's motivational poster programme deals with issues relating to young workers on a regular basis.

If you employ school-leavers and would like to get their working life off to a safer start, why not contact us and find out how our posters can help.

For daily tips on dealing with common workplace issues, why not follow us on Twitter.
If you would like to find out how Kodiak posters 
can help your business work smoother, smarter 
and safer, please call us on: 01530 456 000 
or email us.

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