It’s no secret that adolescents and younger people have a more cavalier attitude regarding safety. Youth sometimes breeds an attitude that puts safety on the back burner and leaves them open to injuries, short term and long term, that are completely avoidable. They’ll wear a reflective windbreaker jacket to an 80s party, but not when needing to stay visible by heavy machine operators. What gives?
In 2014, adolescents ages 16 to 19 were out of work an average of four days following a work injury. Every worker needs to watch out for their own physical safety, but there are some injuries that afflict younger workers more than their older counterparts. If you’ve got a spritely youth on your team these are some helpful safety reminders to pester them with (they might roll their eyes, but they’ll be thankful in the long run, we promise).
- Yes, it’s loud: This will sound funny, but noise is a silent killer. Most barely notice the effect of consistent noise. This constant noise leaves the ears vulnerable to louder sounds that might not seem so loud, comparatively. Hearing protection is essential to stopping hearing damage and/or loss later on.
- Muscle strain is real: Many physically taxing jobs have younger employees that insist on being the most physically active in the crew. More young workers strain muscles they didn’t know were strainable simply by going through motions recklessly at an unnecessary speed. The job is still going to be there, so don’t break your back lifting your own hubris.
- Just wear it: Safety uniforms and workwear aren’t usually the most stylish pieces of apparel. Again, safety gets tossed into the wind when haphazardly performing tasks deemed trivial or skipping out on wearing safety clothing for jobs performed hundreds of times. This is where injury thrives; don’t fall victim to the thought of abandoning safety workwear because a job seems menial.
Workplace safety boils down to taking things slowly and analyzing potentially dangerous situations. It’s easy to fall into a routine and lose track of the safety lessons from your first week. Obviously, it’s nothing against younger workers, but they’re more likely to sustain injuries that could’ve been avoided by a brief consideration of risk level. If you’re thinking you look Marty McFly in your reflective windbreaker jacket, think about wearing something equally safe on the construction site. You’ll thank yourself when you come back from the future.