Summer in California brings a lot of youth workers to various industries, one of them being agriculture. However, the workplace safety burden is on the employer because many young workers believe they are invincible, and the last things they likely worry about are potential workplace injuries. Considering that they are typically not well trained for the jobs they do and often work unsupervised while being exposed to dangerous equipment makes them exceptionally vulnerable.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health requires employers to provide healthy and safe workplaces with Injury and Illness Prevention Programs in place that involve the entire work crew — including youth workers. Safety authorities say good examples set by supervisors can positively influence the attitudes and work ethics of young workers. Learning to prioritize safety from the start of their careers may produce a safety-conscious new generation of workers.
Teen workers must receive hands-on training and clear instructions for every task and every piece of equipment they will use. Allowing them to accompany supervisors on walks to identify potential hazards, encouraging them to ask questions, and making sure they understand the answers are vital. Young workers must learn safety and emergency procedures as well as the proper use of personal protective equipment.
Regardless of the quality of training they receive, young workers will be as vulnerable — if not more so — than experienced workers. Fortunately, they will be eligible for the same workers’ compensation benefits as their older colleagues. Employers must also ensure young workers are informed about the procedures to follow in the event of workplace injuries. Victims may find comfort in knowing that legal counsel can assist with the navigation of benefits claims.
Source: http://youngworkers.org, “Employers“, May 23, 2018
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