The summer months are key for young workers looking to enter the workforce or trying to save up some money during the school year – and this influx of young workers can be a safety concern for some workplaces.
As colleagues, supervisors and employers, there are some things we can do to keep these workers safe.
- Training needs to come first. Young workers (and new workers to the organization, regardless of age) need safety and health orientation and training. Training raises awareness about the importance of workplace safety and encourages young workers to talk about safety in their workplace.
- If a task is better suited to a more experienced worker, avoid assigning it to a young worker. Only assign tasks to workers who have been properly trained and who have demonstrated competence in safely performing the task.
- Ensure that young workers know their rights and responsibilities – and understand how to exercise these rights.
- The right to know about hazards in the workplace, and how to prevent them.
- The right to participate in safety and health in the workplace, for example, on the safety and health committee.
- The right to refuse work they reasonably believe to be dangerous.
- The right to protection from discrimination if you choose to exercise these rights.
- Provide well-maintained personal protective equipment (PPE) and demonstrate its proper use.
This list of safety tips is by no means exhaustive and there are many resources available for employers and supervisors of young workers.
SAFE Work Manitoba has developed the Young Worker Readiness Certificate Course (YWRCC) to help teach young workers the basics about workers’ and employers’ rights and responsibilities for safety, health and the employment relationships. To learn more about how to prepare young people entering the workforce, see SAFE Work Manitoba’s resources for young workers.