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European Statistics do not favour our Young Persons at Work

BY Lee Craig
Health & Safety

18 to 24 year olds are more likely to have a serious accident at work than older adults. They may be exposed to poor working conditions leading to occupational illnesses while still young or later in life.

Young people may lack experience and often lack both physical and psychological maturity. They may not take seriously enough the risks that they face.

Other factors that may contribute to this are:

  • Insufficient skills and training;

  • Not being aware of their rights and their employer’s duties;

  • Not having the confidence to speak out;

  • Employers not recognising the additional protection that young workers need.

Employers’ Responsibilities

To protect the safety and health of workers they should pay particular attention to young workers. They must carry out a risk assessment before a young person starts work and put in place measures to protect them.

Young workers should be given appropriate work and provided with adequate training and supervision. Employers should promote a strong safety culture and involve young workers in safety matters. Safety legislation, namely the Health and Safety (Young Persons) Regulations 1997, applies to young workers under the age of 18.

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has issued a fact sheet to help with overall understanding

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