To promote workplace safety in the youngest section of the workforce, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Workforce Tulsa are uniting on a new training program.
Aiming to be highly interactive and fun, the Developing Work Safety Skills program pairs workforce development staff with young adults to teach them about foundational workplace health and safety. In 2015, the rate of work-related injuries treated in emergency departments for young workers was almost twice the rate of workers 25 years of age and older, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a federal goal to reduce rates of work-related injuries among workers ages 15-19 by 10 percent by the year 2020.
Research conducted by award-winning data capture app provider, WorkMobile, shows that many younger workers wouldn’t know how to deal with a hazardous situation, despite saying that they have read their employee handbook.
“This program will not only ensure the health and safety of these young workers in their first jobs, it will empower them to make safety and health on the job a priority throughout their working lives,” said John Howard, Director of NIOSH.
Workers ages 14-24 are at risk of workplace injury, often from apparently minor problems such as lifting improperly, slippery floors, or improper waste disposal, because of their inexperience at work and their physical, cognitive, and emotional developmental characteristics. They often hesitate to ask questions and may fail to recognize workplace dangers. The first job for many young workers is in the restaurant industry, especially in fast-food establishments. Restaurants and other retail businesses rank high among U.S. industries for risk of adolescent worker injuries, according to OSHA.
Workforce Tulsa’s training activities will include hazard recognition and prevention strategies relevant to workplaces where young people are often employed such as janitorial, retail and food services. Additionally, program participants will receive a certificate of completion when they finish the Developing Work Safety Skills training program.
“We applaud NIOSH for undertaking a task that crosses so many occupations and look forward to promoting it,” said Workforce Tulsa’s executive director Shelley Cadamy. “Our young adult participants have a variety of challenges and barriers to sustainable employment, such as a lack of education or homelessness, and this training program will provide them with a much-needed opportunity to learn the basics of workplace health and safety.”