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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
July 24, 2006

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The best start, the best chance

It is a tragedy that in five years, more than 50 under-18s died and over 12,500 were badly injured at work. These were teenagers full of potential, whose lives were cut short or blighted by accidents at work. Neil Budworth, IOSH president, explains what IOSH is doing to help prepare young people for their first taste of working life.

It is a tragedy that in five years, more than 50 under-18s died and over 12,500 were badly injured at work. These were teenagers full of potential, whose lives were cut short or blighted by accidents at work. Neil Budworth, IOSH president, explains what IOSH is doing to help prepare young people for their first taste of working life.

In May, we launched Wiseup2work (www.wiseup2work.co.uk) with support from the Learning and Skills Council, British Chambers of Commerce and the National Youth Agency. Wiseup2work is a free online resource for teachers, youth workers and employers to use as part of classes, inductions and preparation for work experience.

The SpeakUp competition, which is running to support European Week for Safety and Health at Work, asks teenagers to devise an attention-grabbing advertising campaign. We’re asking them to tell their peers how to speak up at work if they don’t feel safe.

We are also working with the HSE to develop and launch a new basic hazards awareness qualification for year 10 secondary school pupils. A pilot scheme will take place in September, ready for the launch of the course in November. The learning materials will be free and available to download from www.wiseup2work.co.uk

But there is much more that needs to be done. In a document issued at the annual House of Lords lunch in June, IOSH called for a number of actions to help stop the injuries and deaths of teenagers in the workplace. These include:

– schools to cover health and safety before

– students start work experience;

– teachers to teach health and safety;

– better vetting procedures to make sure employers include health and safety in inductions and supervise young people properly;

– minimum levels of health and safety knowledge and understanding for placement officers assessing the suitability of employers and workplaces for work experience;

– health and safety to be reinstated as a government grant condition for the Learning & Skills Council (LSC);

– no barriers for training providers to raise health and safety concerns (at present, individual targets could take precedence over conducting health and safety checks);

– training providers to help address the under-reporting of accidents of young people by ensuring employers fully understand the reporting requirements.

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