Health and Wellbeing · 7 August 2017

Young people more likely to put themselves at risk of harm at work

Younger people are more likely to be at risk from harm at work
Younger people are more likely to be at risk from harm at work
Around a quarter of young people are not following the health and safety procedures at their workplace, it has emerged.

A survey by WorkMobile of 2,000 employees working for businesses with more than five employees found that 27 per cent of workers aged 18-34 have put themselves in risk by failing to follow safety procedures set by the company. By contrast, only eight per cent of people aged 45-65 have put themselves at risk by ignoring safety procedures.

Despite this, younger people are more likely to have read the operations manual set out by their employers – 56 per cent of younger people claimed they had read the manual, compared to only 30 per cent of older people.
Furthermore, younger people are also less likely to know how to deal with a hazardous situation – 33 per cent said they would not know what to do, compared to 67 per cent of 45-65 year olds.
 
 Colin Yates, chief support officer at WorkMobile, said: “Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of employers to ensure they are supplying staff with the necessary information and guidance to allow them to work in an appropriate manner. But while most businesses are meeting this legal requirement, it’s extremely concerning to see is that many young people are failing to take health and safety seriously and are putting themselves in danger by not following the correct procedures.

“For business owners, it can be difficult to know whether employees have actually read their handbooks and are up to speed with on the company’s health and safety products.”

To make sure young people are following the correct procedures, Yates recommend that companies consider introducing frequent meetings or updates to discuss health and safety in the workplace, so it remains front of mind for employees and they are aware of what to do if a hazardous situation was to occur.

According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE), while there has been a long-term downward decline in work-related injuries, in 2015/16, 144 workers were killed at work and an estimated 621,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Business Advice. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.

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