June 23, 2015 - Every June, CareerSafe sponsors National Young Worker Safety Day (NYWSD) in conjunction with National Safety Month. This year’s NYWSD celebration will be held on June 23, 2015 at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. This annual event celebrates the safety achievements of students and educators while also raising awareness of youth injuries in the workplace. At this event, attendees are invited to sign the safety pledge to “StartSafe. StaySafe.” in the workplace. CareerSafe invites all career and technical education students to participate in the events and receive a commemorative t-shirt. Each year the number of safety pledges received continues to grow. In fact, in 2014 over 5,000 students took the StartSafe. StaySafe. pledge. By promoting safety education in all situations, CareerSafe hopes to reach beyond the classroom and make a safety impact for students on the job, at home, and in their communities.
"Safety is a foundation that every workplace should be built on because all workers have the right to return home at the end of the day healthy and safe, regardless of their age or how long they are on the job," said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "Young workers are new to the job so it's especially important that employers make sure they receive the training and protective gear they need to stay safe on the job."
According to the CDC, there were approximately 20.1 million young people, under the age of 24, entering the workforce in 2014—but this does not mean that these young workers are necessarily prepared and able to handle risks and hazards that can occur in a work environment. Not being knowledgeable of hazards related to a specific job or knowing how to assess and correct a problem can lead to devastating injuries or even death for a worker. Safety training can make workers more conscious of hazards and risks such as falls, vehicle accidents, overexertion injuries, and workplace violence. Unfortunately, workplace safety has the potential to be unintentionally overlooked which can leave workers and others on the job site unprotected. Based on current statistics, young workers, ages 16-24, continue to have the highest rates of work-related injuries and illnesses; greater than any other age group.
“Young workers tend to be employed in some of our more dangerous workplaces and experience a disproportionate amount of workplace injuries. Every seven minutes a young worker is hospitalized, and every five days a young worker is killed on the job,” states U.S. Senator Al Franken, D-Minnesota, “As a father, a grandfather and Ranking Member of the Senate Employee and Workplace Safety Subcommittee, I’m saddened by these figures. That’s why today’s event, the National Young Worker Safety Day, is so important. We need to prevent needless and tragic injuries and deaths and provide our younger workforce with the training and skills to protect themselves and others on the job. Today is a day to promote safety in the work place but also to acknowledge the sacrifices of those who have been injured or lost their lives on the job and honor their memory by working to create a safer workplace and prevent future tragedies. Thank you for your commitment to a safer workplace.”
By preparing students for their first entry-level job and future career opportunities with safety and health training, young workers will be more capable of protecting themselves and others.
For those that will not be able to attend the conference, efforts to promote youth safety education will continue on at HOSA, FCCLA, and FBLA national conferences in June and July. CareerSafe has compiled important statistics, helpful safety tips, and information on workplace injuries and deaths associated with the different industries. To access these resources visit the CareerSafe website at www2.careersafeonline.com/NYWSD.
CareerSafe encourages both educators and students to help promote safety awareness through several scholarship opportunities. Students are challenged to create both safety video PSAs and written essays expressing the importance of safety training. Follow CareerSafe news, social media, and events to remain up to date on opportunities to make a difference in workplace safety education.
Through a collaborative effort, what we do every day can save lives and lower injury rates for young workers. Remember, no job is worth a young worker’s life.