According to the CDC, there were approximately 18.1 million young people entering the workforce under the age of 24 in 2013â€”but this does not mean that these young workers are necessarily prepared and able to handle risks and hazards that can occur in a work environment.[i] Not being knowledgeable of hazards related to a specific job or knowing how to assess and correct a problem can lead to devastating injuries or even death for a worker.
Safety training can make workers more conscious of hazards and risks such as falls, vehicle accidents, overexertion injuries, and workplace violence. Unfortunately, workplace safety has the potential to be unintentionally overlooked which can leave workers and others on the job site unprotected. Every nine minutes, a U.S. teen is injured on the job.[ii] By preparing students for their first entry-level jobs and future career opportunities with safety and health training, young workers will be more capable protecting themselves and others.
The Department of Labor reports that nearly 600,000 workers miss work each year because of muscoskeletal disorders related to work injuries alone; the collective cost to employers, insurance companies, and the government is estimated at $50 billion each year.[iii]
Workplace injuries not only affect the company, but can also lead to devastating consequences for a worker. Being injured while at work can lead to lost wages, large medical bills that may not be completely covered by workersâ€™ compensation, and even disabilities that result in long-term unemployment. In addition to learning how to identify safety and health hazards, workplace safety training, especially OSHA training, provides workers with information regarding their rights in the workplace. First and foremost, workers are entitled to working conditions that are safe and do not pose a risk of serious harm or injury.
Successful occupational health and safety programs require the collaborating efforts and participation of employers and employees. Understanding and implementing safety and health standards related to the work environment is not only the responsibility of an employer but also an employeeâ€™s. Promoting health and safety as well as implementing training in the classroom can lead to young workers actively identifying, accessing, and correcting hazards in the classroom and at work. Incorporating a health and safety training program or OSHA safety training in the classroom is a way to lower risks to young workers and begin to prepare future business leaders and workers on practicing safe methods in the workplace. Online OSHA training, like the courses offered by CareerSafe Online, is an easy and affordable way to implement workplace safety training in any career and technical education (CTE) classroom. Because 80% or more of young workers are still in high school when they begin their first job, it gives educators an opportunity to prepare their students for employment as well as apprenticeships and internships related to their studies.[iv]
The more education and training workers receive, the more likely it is that there will be a reduction in injuries and the repercussions of those injuries. Young workers who have received OSHA safety training and possess an industry recognized credential are enhancing their resumes, becoming more employable, and may receive pay increase from employers. Employers want to hire individuals who not only understand the work involved in a position, but are also aware of the risks associated with daily tasks.
Students are our future. Letâ€™s make safety a priority and enroll them in safety training today.
[i] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014) Young Worker Safety and Health.
[ii] Department of Labor, YouthRules. (2012) Are You a Teen Worker?
[iii] Jeffress, Charles N. (2000) BEACON Biodynamics and Ergonomics Symposium. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor.
[iv] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013) Health and Safety of Young Workers.
This blog post was written by CareerSafe Online, a participant and gold level sponsor at the 2014 NASDCTEc Fall Meeting