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Safety & Risk Control

Managing the risk of young workers

It's generally a win-win situation. Young workers gain experience, and employers gain cost-effective seasonal or replacement workers. However, there’s one pitfall to be aware of: Young workers have high occupational injury rates, for a number of reasons:
  • The types of industries that need summer help may have more hazards. For example, food service jobs may require using knives and cooking equipment — and often have slippery floors.
  • Younger workers are more inexperienced and may not receive safety training. These workers may be reluctant to ask questions or make demands.
Safety education is an important component of any job — but especially one that is filled with younger or inexperienced workers. It’s important to provide job-specific instruction, such as how to lift safely, use equipment properly, read a safety data sheet (SDS), find and wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE), etc. You can access materials that address safety training for young workers through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health at www.cdc.gov/niosh/talkingsafety or www.osha.gov/youngworkers.


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