Protecting Temp Summer Workers in Construction

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About 80% of US teens work through their high schoolyears, often during the summer.  While they are excited for the opportunity to earn income, they are also inexperienced.  For this reason, several thousand teens are injured and dozens lose their lives.  It is the job of the company to ensure their safety.

Safety.BLR compiled a list via OSHA of company requirments to keep seasonal workers safe:

 

Among your responsibilities as an employer of young workers, OSHA lists the following:

  • Understand and comply with relevant federal and state child labor laws.
  • Train young workers to recognize hazards and use safe work practices. Training should be in a language and vocabulary employees understand and should address fire prevention, accidents, violent situations, and what to do if an injury occurs.
  • Implement a buddy or mentor system for new young workers. Pair them with an adult or experienced young worker to help them learn the ropes and the rules.
  • Encourage teens to ask questions about tasks or procedures that are unclear or are not understood.
  • Make sure your communications are getting through. Young people are not just miniature adults; it may take different techniques to reach them.
  • Be certain that equipment is legal and safe for teens to use. Label equipment younger workers are not allowed to operate, such as meat slicers or bakery mixers.

What are the causes of young worker injuries and illnesses?

Teens get sick or injured on the job for many reasons. Among them are:

  • Muscle sprains, strains, or tears;
  • Unsafe equipment;
  • Inadequate safety training;
  • Inadequate supervision;
  • Dangerous work that’s illegal or inappropriate for teens;
  • Pressure to work faster; and
  • Stressful conditions.

For those working outdoors, the hazards include:

  • Exposure to the sun and heat,
  • Exposure to landscaping chemicals,
  • Mishaps involving machinery and vehicles,
  • Electricity,
  • Heavy lifting, and
  • Noise.

 

Keep young, seasonal workers safe by following proper protocol, and remember, teens will likely not speak up when they feel something is a hazard, so speak up for them.

To read the safety.blr.com article, click here.