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July 23, 2008

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MEPs support young-workers campaign

Three MEPs have called for more to be done to prevent young workers coming to harm when they first enter the workplace.

Chris Heaton-Harris, Conservative MEP, Derek Clark, UK Independence Party MEP for the East Midlands, and Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, recently visited IOSH, and heard about the high numbers of young people leaving school without any understanding of the dangers that exist in the workplace.

They were told about IOSH’s ‘Putting young workers first’ campaign, and the Workplace Hazard Awareness Course (WHAC) for year-10 students, which IOSH produced in partnership with the HSE.

Mr Heaton-Harris, who is bidding to become MP for Daventry at the next general election, said he would be addressing the campaign’s aims in the European Parliament.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that our young people are adequately prepared for starting work,” he explained. “With 64 under-19s killed in the workplace in the last decade, and a further 15,000 suffering major injuries, this is clearly a matter that requires prompt attention.”

Mr Clark added: “With fewer technical courses in schools nowadays, young people do not have the opportunity to gain a basic awareness of health and safety. IOSH’s campaign is importantly filling the gap created by this in striving to teach this group the basic knowledge that they may have missed out on.”

And offering her endorsement, Jean Lambert remarked: “Young people are one of the most vulnerable groups of employees, due to a lack of awareness, training and experience. We must address this in order to stem the number of fatalities and injuries that they suffer as a result.”

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