World SafeDay 2018 focuses on Young People’s OHS Risks
World Health & Safety Day, SafeDay, on 28 April 2018, joins forces with the World Day Against Child Labour to double efforts in promoting international awareness both of health and safety issues affecting young workers and the campaign for the elimination of child labour. SafeDay is the initiative of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) whose 187 country members are committed to fostering tripartite dialogue among social partners comprising governments and employer and workers’ representative bodies.
Medilink, as a global operation serving clients in heavy industries such the extraction and construction and infrastructure sectors, is keen to promote awareness of the specific needs and situations that younger workers face in these potentially hazardous workplaces and sites. As part of our portfolio of health management services, we offer Young Persons’ Risk Assessments which while not compulsory in some countries, are nonetheless considered of paramount importance and best practice in fostering a culture of occupational health and safety (OSH).
Why Young People are more at risk in the Workplace
When it comes to focusing on the issue of OHS among younger workers, the figures speak for themselves. According to the ILO, some 541 million young workers worldwide are aged between 15 and 24 years old – a figure which also includes the estimated 37 million children in hazardous child labour. This group accounts for more than 15 per cent of the world’s labour force and yet registers up to a 40 per cent higher rate of non-fatal occupational injuries than adult workers.
Young people are more susceptible to OHS risks than older workers for a variety of reasons, including both physical and psychological factors. They often lack experience and training and they may not be fully aware of, nor have the pragmatic insight into potential workplace-related hazards and risks. Importantly too, they may not feel they are able to speak up in certain situations and may accept taking on tasks and jobs that are dangerous or are carried out in poor working conditions. Young people may require specific supervision and guidance from other employees who are trained for the role and are sensitive to their needs; yet this type of environment is often lacking in the workplace.
At Medilink, we offer specific OHS risk assessments designed with young people in mind. While we offer this as a dedicated service, we emphasise that ensuring the optimal health and safety of young people should be an integral part of an entity’s overall OHS policies, procedure and planning. Comprehensive and thorough OHS audits and policies should not be viewed solely as compliance with legal requirements but also as good business sense.
RoSPA, the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, spells out the business benefits of ensuring the health and safety of all workers, especially young people as:
- reducing accident losses;
- cutting absenteeism;
- improving profit and loss statements;
- improving efficiency; and
- enhancing an entity’s business profile with customers, clients, insurers, enforcers and so on.
Medilink is committed to the aims of the World SafeDay 2018 campaign which highlights the critical importance of improving safety and health for young workers, not only to promote decent youth employment, but also to link these efforts to combat hazardous – and all other forms of – child labour.
Photo credit: Hasin Hayder