08/02/2006

Year-long campaign to protect young workers

An EU-wide campaign is running this year to address the safety of young people
at work as according to European statistics they run a 50% higher risk of work
accidents than other workers.

A 16-year-old worker's legs were broken less than two hours into his first day
at work as he fell from the footplate of an 18-ton refuse lorry. He was riding
on the outside of the vehicle because there was not enough room in the cab for
him and the three other workers. A 17 year-old girl lost part of a finger only
one hour of starting her holiday job. Her fingers were crushed in a machine at
the bakery where she worked.

Accidents like these are a daily occurrence and a serious threat to EU's 58
million young people. According to Eurostat data, the risk of work accidents is
at least 50% higher among those aged 18-24 years than in any other age
category. Accidents and damage to the health of young workers are particularly
distressing where the young person has to live with the consequences for the
rest of their lives. Worse still is the premature death of a youngster from a
usually avoidable work accident.

'Young persons are less likely to recognise the risk of accidents and even when
they do, they may be less able to take appropriate action. And sometimes they
are simply assigned to tasks beyond their capabilities or are not provided
adequate training or supervision', explains Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, Director of
the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. 'We must take steps to
ensure young people have a safe and healthy start to their working lives, and
to promote risk awareness and risk prevention in enterprises, schools and
colleges'.

In anticipation of the campaign running this year, the European Agency has just
launched an online pool of information on issues related to young people and
their safety and health. Topics covered include accident prevention and
integrating occupational safety and health into education.

More info


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work