Only a Fifth of Young Workers Report Injuries
A study analyzing the attitudes of 21,000 young workers (ages 15-25) towards workplace safety found that 21% of respondents had experienced a lost-time injury. The real shock was that half of those workers didn’t tell anyone about their injury. Meaning that despite having an injury severe enough to halt work for an extended period, they never reported it to a safety professional or their employer.
Part of this issue can be attributed to the small-job environment that many teenagers experience growing up. Most teens’ early job experience is from spending summers working for family friends in backyards or babysitting. Jobs where there obviously are no posted safety procedures, safety professional or formal management. It’s low risk work and usually only causes micro-accidents, which are injuries like bruises and burns that are not serious. However, this creates a habit of not telling anyone about their injuries that can carry over into future jobs.
This habit can lead to a fear or anxiety around safety reporting. Thinking about when you were the new guy or gal at your fist real job, you didn’t want to jeopardize your supervisor’s opinion of you. Therefore, you might have hidden an injury that you felt wasn’t a big deal or you simply didn’t tell anyone. Respondents who avoided reporting their injury cited a concern about their self-identity as a reason. Young employees can be nervous and afraid to admit they made a mistake, but they do not realize that this is not productive for the company or the employee.
Change the Safety Environment
Finding a solution for this underreporting starts with cultural awareness – it is not just OK to report, but expected that you will do so – and ease of access to reporting. Changing the mindset of employees in the field is not an easy task and neither is removing the perceived stigma around reporting incidents. However, the best way to promote employee engagement and reporting is by making the process quick and immediately accessible without the need to contact a supervisor first.
Simplifying the process of safety makes reporting less
daunting which will promote awareness and action.
Create Employee Engagement
By putting reporting software on every employee’s mobile device, you allow employees to report from the safety and privacy of their own device. Doing so will both send the message that they should use the tool and allow them to report injuries or near-misses remotely, at any time and anonymously. This means that a young employee who is afraid of directly telling their crew about their injury can pull out their phone and notify the safety professional in minutes without feeling like they are causing a scene.