The makeup of the workforce is constantly changing. Older workers are retiring and younger workers are coming in to take their place. While each job has specific skills and rules that must be taught on the job each worker should come into the work place with skills that will enable them to become safe and responsible employees. Where will these new workers learn these safety skills?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has an idea. They have formally partnered with a school district in Florida to specifically teach work place safety skills to high school students. What a great ideas as over 80% of teens will work sometime while in high school and may be unprepared to deal with workplace hazards. The NIOSH website states that young people under the age of 25 are twice as likely as adults to get hurt on the job. It also states that the new curriculum to be taught in the school system will provide students with these specific workplace safety skills:
- Recognize that, while work has benefits, all workers can be injured, become sick, or even be killed on the job. Workers need to know how workplace risks can affect their lives and their families.
- Recognize that work-related injuries and illnesses are predictable and can be prevented.
- Identify hazards at work and predict how workers can be injured or made sick.
- Recognize how to prevent injury and illness. Describe the best ways to address workplace hazards and apply these concepts to specific workplace problems.
- Identify emergencies at work and decide on the best ways to address them.
- Recognize employer and worker rights and responsibilities that play a role in safe and healthy work.
- Find resources that help keep workers safe and healthy on the job.
- Demonstrate how workers can communicate with others—including people in authority roles—to ask questions or report problems or concerns when they feel unsafe or threatened.
NIOSH offers this curriculum called “Talking Safety” throughout the nation and it is specified to each state’s child labor laws and current educational standards. While this curriculum was created almost 20 years ago it has been updated and will be reviewed and evaluated by the teachers and students that have been contracted to use it over the next 4 years. Resources such as this curriculum, the NIOSH website and other safety websites are a great place to turn to for education and new ideas on how to approach safety. SlipNOT’s website is full of helpful safety information. Safety checklists, case studies, ADA/OSHA/ANSI/NFPA and ASTM standards and requirements, as well as white papers and an AIA registered continuing education class are easy to access and use.