This blog can be delivered to your staff as a Toolbox Talk. If you require a specific Toolbox Talk for your workplace, please feel free to get in touch.
Reason: Construction sites are hazardous places, even for competent and experienced adults who should be aware of the dangers. Young people, with their lack of safety awareness, are particularly at risk of work-related injury or ill health.
Outline: This talk covers why young people are vulnerable and what everyone should be doing to safeguard their health and safety on site.
Who is a young person?
- Health and safety law defines a young person as anyone under 18.
- The law does not prohibit the employment of young people on construction sites.
What are the problems?
- Young people may not have the same level of safety awareness as a more experienced person.
- For some young people, a construction site will be their first experience of a workplace, and therefore they may not have the proper training, and limited experience.
- Young people may not appreciate their own limitations and will require a greater level of supervision than an adult – the level depending on the job, site conditions and their experience.
- Young people may unwittingly create dangerous situations because of an eagerness to please.
- Young people may be more likely to arrive at work whilst unfit, due to several factors.
Protection of young people
- Risk assessments must take account of young people on site and jobs that they are required to do.
- Ensure that young people attend the site induction, even if they are only going to be on site for a short time.
- Be aware of their lack of safety awareness, their physical and psychological immaturity and their inexperience.
- Only give jobs to young people that they can cope with, both physically and mentally.
- Only allow young people to do jobs that they are qualified or trained for.
- Do not allow young people to carry out particularly dangerous jobs (such as using cartridge-operated tools).
- Whatever the job, you must ensure that the level of supervision is adequate.
- If young people are working near to you, you should be ready to stop them if they carry out any activity that is unsafe.
- Encourage young people to speak out if they do not feel safe with what they have been asked to do; it may only be a case of reassurance, or it may be that more supervision is required.
- Do not tolerate messing about, or other unsafe actions.
What action should you take if you witness a young person in a position of danger?
What do you do if a young person arrives unfit for work?
What things need to be considered when assessing the level of supervision?
How did you feel on your first day on a construction site?
Now inform your workers of the company policy regarding safeguarding the health and safety of young people on site.