School's out for the summer!

Compliplus Summer WorkersWe all remember our first jobs well and some of us might have not so fond memories of our first foray into the workplace (mine was washing pots and pans in a busy hospital kitchen!) but for many employers young workers are a valuable resource to cover positions over the peak annual leave season.

 

It’s a fact that workers are most likely to have an injury in their first weeks of work so employers should consider this when taking on temporary staff, especially younger staff. Young people in particular may not have the same safety awareness as an older more experienced worker and indeed in their willingness to please, can sometimes put themselves at risk. Often training is haphazard as employers do not invest in the same level of training as full-time employees. Time constraints and working at reduced staffing levels can also compound the problem.

 

Understanding the Legal Requirements

There are specific legal protections in place for young workers, the key aspects of which are summarised as follows;

 

Age 14 and 15

Age 16 and 17

Maximum Work hours per day during term time

Age 14 – Nil    Age 15 – 8 hours

N/A

Holiday Work

35 hours

40 Hours

Work Experience

40 Hours

40 Hours

Earliest Start

After 8:00am

After 6:00am

Latest Finish (with school the next day)

Up to 8:00pm

Up to 10:00pm

Latest Finish (with no school the next day)

Up to 8:00pm

Up to 11pm (and not before 7:00am the next morning)

30 minutes break after working

4 hours

4½ hours

Rest break every 24 hours

14 hours off

12  hours off

Rest break every 7 days

2 days off

2 days off

In addition, young workers must not be engaged in;

  • Activities that involve the operation of lifting equipment
  • Activities that exceeds their physical or mental capacities
  • Activities that exposes them to toxic substances
  • Activities that exposes them to radiation
  • Activities that involves extreme heat, noise or vibration
  • Activities that they have not been adequately trained to engage in, and
  • Activities that are deemed to be unsafe

The following guidelines can help when dealing with younger employees.

 

Include the temporary staff 

Temporary staff may only be with the company for a short period of time but by including them in all aspects of the business you can help them provide a positive influence during their stay. Include a full orientation so your expectations of them are clear.

Training

Provide workers with the knowledge they need to do a good job every day. Train using contextually correct materials on the topics they need to know. Keep the training concise and to the point to encourage knowledge retention. Train in the language, vocabulary and level they can best understand. Where possible, incorporate visual, entertaining content to hold their attention.

Equip workers with the proper tools

In order for a job to be done well, the employee must have the necessary tools to carry out the task required, be that the knowledge of company policies, proper ergonomics, or reasonable working conditions. Poorly equipped temporary workers will be unlikely to return after the first day or two leaving you back at square one.

Employ the buddy system

Workers that are with you on a temporary basis may not be as emotionally invested in seeking clarification of their duties when they have a question. Having a “buddy” close by to keep an eye out and provide quick answers is a huge advantage to keeping temporary employees on task and on track.

Safety tips when dealing with younger workers:

  1. Be aware of their lack of safety awareness, their physical and psychological immaturity and their inexperience.
  2. Ensure that young people receive a company induction, even if they are only going to be with the company for a short period of time.
  3. Only give young people jobs to do that then can cope with, both physically and mentally.
  4. Do not allow young people to carry out particularly dangerous jobs such as using cartridge-operated tools.
  5. Whatever the job, ensure the level of supervision is adequate.
  6. Be aware that if young people are working near to you, be prepared to stop any activity that is clearly unsafe.
  7. Encourage young people to speak out if they do not feel safe with what they have been asked to do, it may only be a case of reassurance or maybe more supervision is required.
  8. Do not tolerate horseplay or other unsafe, high spirits.

 

It is good practice for an employer to cover workplace safety, human resources, and company-specific policies and procedures for all new entrants, even if it’s only a summer employee. The time spent in training in and inducting the temporary staff member will reap dividends as the as the team’s overall performance should not be adversely affected over the busiest annual leave period.