May 22, 2006

LWCC Emphasizes Safety in the Workplace for Young Summer Hires

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BATON ROUGE, LA -- Summer is a peak hiring time for thousands of young workers, and Louisiana Workers' Compensation Corporation (LWCC) is reminding employers of the importance of safety in the workplace for young hires.

According to recent statistics, summer hires and other employees with less than one year's experience on the job account for nearly half of LWCC's policyholder workplace injury claims. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration also has determined that young workers ages 14-24 are at risk of workplace injury because of their inexperience and their physical, cognitive and emotional developmental characteristics. They often fail to ask questions and may fail to recognize workplace dangers. This inexperience may result in accidents that can cost them not only their summer, but also possibly their lives.

"Safety is no accident," says Kristin Wall, president and CEO of LWCC. "It takes a commitment from the top down to ensure that young employees have the proper training and safeguards to keep them healthy and reduce their risk of injuries. As leaders in youth hiring, industries such as fast-food, construction and retail are encouraged to be especially vigilant."

A list of tips for safely employing young workers is available at www.lwcc.com and includes important information such as:

  • Emphasize safety among first-line supervisors who have the greatest opportunity to influence new employees and their work habits.
  • Show young workers how to use safety equipment and explain why it is critical to the job. Make sure they know when to wear protective gear such as eye protection, hard hats and gloves, where to find it, how to use it and how to care for it.
  • Recognize that what may be obvious or simple common sense to an experienced employee may not be so clear to a young worker tackling a project for the first time.

In addition to employers, other influencers such as parents and coworkers can play a vital role in encouraging young workers to follow safety guidelines on the job.

LWCC.com also offers links to information for young workers, schools and parents.

"As the start of the summer hiring season draws near, we simply ask that employers continue to be vigilant about safety in the workplace and watch over their eager young employees as they would their own kids," says Wall. "Extra vigilance on the part of all employers will go a long way toward everyone having a safe and productive summer."
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