With school out, it’s a great time for older students to join the workforce. They can fatten up their wallets, gain work experience, make connections that will help them in future job searches, and build their character in the process. Students who work summer jobs often return to school more mature and disciplined.
Employers should be aware of the responsibilities involved in hiring young workers. Their youth may make them feel invincible, and their inexperience may keep them from understanding the gravity of workplace safety.
Young workers are often eager to work and quick to act, but they may throw caution to the wind and deliver themselves an injury. Employers can help reduce the risk of injury with the following tips:
- Ensure that the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act are observed – The law sets the wages, maximum number of hours, and safety requirements for minors under the age of 18 who are working in jobs covered by the statute. The law prohibits the employment of minors in jobs declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor.
- Conduct a safety orientation – Supervisors or team leaders should brief young workers about workplace rules, the use of proper gear, and emergency procedures.
- Keep talking about safety – Management should continue the dialog about safety long after the orientation.
- Encourage young workers to ask questions – Inexperienced workers may be too intimidated to ask questions. Failure to properly understand a process could lead to an accident. Make sure your employees feel safe coming to you with inquiries.
Employers should pay extra attention to their young workers. They are not merely giving them a paycheck, they are helping them become smart, safe, conscientious employees who will bolster the full-time workforce of tomorrow.