European campaign aims to protect young workers

A Europe-wide campaign to improve the safety of young people at work has been launched by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.

The agency estimates that young people are more likely to suffer from accidents at work than other workers, citing the case of a 16-year-old who broke his legs less than two hours into his first day at work on a refuse lorry.

In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive has calculated that men between the ages of 20 and 24 suffer the second highest incidence of non-fatal workplace accidents, while women of the same age group were found to be the fifth most vulnerable working group.

“Young people are less likely to recognise the risk of accidents and even when they do, they may be less able to take appropriate action,” said Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, director of the agency. “And sometimes they are simply assigned to tasks beyond their capabilities, or are not provided adequate training or supervision,” he added.

The year-long campaign will include the launch of an online pool of information on areas such as accident prevention, and integrating occupational health and safety into education.

Go to www.osha.eu.int/youngpeople

Rate of non-fatal injuries

Age band                    Major                          Over-3-day                 Total non-fatal
                           Men     Women              Men       Women            Men     Women
16-19               144.2       65.1                439.0       180.2               583.2     245.3
20-24               163.1       59.5                588.8       226.9               751.9     286.4
25-34               139.2       42.7                612.4       202.1               751.6     244.8
35-44               147.2       44.8                667.6       244.2               814.8     289.0
45-54               142.6       61.7                594.0       263.2               736.6     324.9
55-59               150.7       89.9                546.8       258.0               697.5     347.9
60 -64               173.1      101.5              556.7       230.5               729.8     332.0
65+                    94.1        90.5                159.5       102.5               253.6      193.0
All ages            167.3      66.3                665.4       265.1               832.7      331.4

Source: HSE




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