Mining Safety for Younger Workers
When you're young you think you're invulnerable. Accidents and injuries happen to other people, not you. And that's exactly the kind of thinking that makes young workers so vulnerable to workplace accidents.
Young workers (under age 25) were twice as likely to be injured on the job as adult employees.
They are particularly vulnerable to accidents their first few weeks on the job. In fact, new, young, and inexperienced workers are over 5 times as likely to be injured during their first 4 weeks on the job
Young males are more likely to be involved in workplace accidents than young females.
Reasons for higher Injury risk amongst younger workers
Reasons young workers are injured include lack of:
- Understanding of risks, safety rules, and procedures
- Good judgment and impulse control
- Safety training
- Fatigue may be another important safety issue with young workers.
- Many young people are tired from trying to balance work, a social life, and sometimes night school as well.
- They often don't get enough sleep, and then they may come to work tired.
- Tired workers are not alert, safe workers.
- Furthermore, you can't rule out the influence of drugs and alcohol especially intoxicants like beer.
When training young employees to work safely, be sure trainers:
- Provide clear instructions on the procedures to follow, including specific safety precautions. Trainers should always explain why these procedures and precautions are necessary.
- Ask the young worker to repeat the instructions, and then ask for and respond to any questions.
- Show the trainee how to perform the task correctly and safely.
- Ask the trainee to perform the task while the trainer watches.
- Correct any mistakes, asking for and answering any questions.
- Check back periodically to make sure young workers is still performing the task correctly and safely. Supervisors should always monitor closely for a few days after training and be especially alert for any risk-taking behavior, step skipping, etc.
When training young workers for a job that involves using or working around any hazardous equipment, be sure trainers demonstrate how to use the equipment safely and explain such essential safety precautions as:
- Required PPE
- Proper use of machine guards
- Procedure for starting and stopping equipment
- Emergency features
- Procedures for feeding and removing materials safely
- How to report equipment problems
- Leaving machine and electrical repair and maintenance to trained, authorized people
Supervision of Young Workers
Supervisors play a critical role in protecting young workers on the job. To provide that essential safety net, your supervisors have to be trained to work effectively with young workers and recognize how they may be different from adult employees.
Supervisors should be trained to:
- Provide proper safety orientation for all new employees
- Spend more time explaining the job
- Never assume skills or knowledge of safety hazards
- Provide lots of positive feedback (and correction when necessary) on safety performance
- Emphasize the specific risks and the importance of safety precautions
- Supervise young employees closely for the first couple of months
- Be available to answer questions those first crucial weeks on the job
- Assign an experienced employee to mentor the young worker
Set a good example for young workers (e.g., always using proper PPE and following all the work rules employees are expected to follow)
- Tell young workers to ask about any hazard or procedure they're unsure of
- Make sure young workers understand there's no such thing as a "dumb" question about safety
- Make sure young workers understand emergency procedures and know evacuation routes
[Content kindly provided my Moolmans Mining]