Filed Under:Markets, Workers Compensation

4 tips to ensure employee safety

EMPLOYERS survey reveals small business owners overlook safety training for summer student employees

For students, summer jobs at local restaurants, stores, and other small businesses to gain some work experience and earn a little extra money. This summer however, these jobs are hard to come by for student workers according to a new poll of small business owners by EMPLOYERS.

Only one in five (19%) of small business owners plan to hire student workers this summer, and summer jobs at small businesses will remain flat compared to last year.

Despite the bleak outlook for summer jobs for both college and high school students, the survey also reveals that workplace safety training for student employees is often overlooked.

“Many small businesses don’t recognize the risks associated with student workers and don’t provide any type of workplace safety training,” said EMPLOYERS COO Stephen V. Festa. “Even though they may be temporary, these workers are eligible for the same workers’ compensation benefits as full-time employees if they get injured or ill on the job.”

According to the poll, 27% of small business owners said that they do not offer workplace safety training for new student workers they employ, and among those who do offer workplace safety training, only 52% make it a requirement.

Festa believes that workplace safety training may not be a priority due to a false sense of security.  “Last summer, only three percent of business owners who hired students reported that they had one get injured or ill on the job. While a low incident rate is good news, overlooking workplace safety is a poor business decision. By creating a culture of safety, costly employee injuries may be prevented.”

Click through the following slides for Festa’s tips for small business owners to ensure the safety of all of their employees, including students hired for the summer.

 

Identify and assess potential hazards

Business owners and managers should identify and document potential hazards, as well as put proper safety procedures in place before employees use equipment or materials in the workplace.

By establishing simple safety procedures, such as requiring rubber-soled shoes to be worn by all employees in restaurants and warehouses, employers can help prevent accidents. However, it is not enough to establish a protocol. Employers must document these procedures because it establishes a record that can be referenced in the event of an OSHA inspection or insurance audit.

Provide education and training

Business owners should provide employees with information and training on their injury and illness prevention programs. These training sessions should especially be held whenever new substances, processes, procedures or equipment are introduced into the workplace.

Proper training includes the identification of potential hazards, preventative measures for common accidents, as well as what to do if an accident occurs. EMPLOYERS also suggests that business owners train employees in a language they understand, especially in a bilingual environment.

 

Enlist management and employee participation

Employers should encourage employees to provide feedback regarding the safety situation in the workplace environment. At all levels, employees should be involved in establishing, implementing and evaluating safety programs.

This also means that managers are not exempt from safety procedures. Employees in authoritative positions are responsible to lead by example and should be held accountable for workplace safety.

Evaluate program effectiveness 

Business owners should routinely evaluate their workplace safety programs. An annual review is a great way to routinely assess the program, but employers should also consider reviewing their workplace safety program whenever new or previously unknown hazards are discovered.

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