Young, seasonal first-time retail workers frequently lack safety and job-specific knowledge and skills. This absence of work experience and safety training often leads to a lack of awareness and avoidance of potential injuries. Claims data confirms that teen worker injury rates are two to three times higher than older workers.
What may be apparent to a seasoned worker likely won’t be to a teen or young adult. It’s dangerous to assume that a young worker knows what to do in any given circumstance. Provide safety training in ways young workers can fully comprehend by avoiding the use of industry jargon and carefully explaining industry terms when first introduced. A helpful tool for safety training is SAFEME Essentials, available in English and Español.
Give clear instructions for each task while encouraging young workers to ask questions. Supervise younger workers closely, immediately correcting any issues or risky behaviors, and prepare them for emergencies, such as fires and violent or unexpected dangerous situations. It is best to assign a work buddy to mentor them for the first part of their training.
Important safety and health skills to review with young workers:
- Understanding that work-related injuries are usually predictable and preventable.
- Recognizing how workplace injuries can affect their personal lives.
- Identifying hazards in the workplace.
- How to remedy workplace hazards to prevent injury and illness.
- Locating resources that help keep workers safe and healthy on the job.
- Identifying common workplace emergencies and how to best address them.
- Having a clear understanding of employer and worker rights and responsibilities at work.
- Demonstrating how workers can best communicate with others, including those in authority.
- Empowering workers to ask questions and report problems or concerns when they feel unsafe or threatened.
- Being mindful of the space around them at all times. Teach new young workers to watch out for people, boxes, forklifts, and moving objects in the work area that could fall on or hit them.
RS SafetyTV has a variety of videos that are useful when training entry-level workers.
Rick Means, Director of Safety and Education, is available to help members with safety. Contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 118 or [email protected].