Ladder accidents happen every day around the world, some worse than others. Recently, a Delaware high school student suffered a severe head injury after falling from an unguarded one-story balcony at a construction site. The young man was clearing debris on the site as a cooperative education student employee. An OSHA statement revealed the company willfully exposed him to fall hazards by not offering proper safeguards. OSHA officials cited the company with a $70,000 fine for failure to protect the teen boy from the fall by providing legally required protections. Another citation was given because the boy was never trained properly.
Effectively Training Younger Workers
This situation brings up an important issue; how can we effectively train younger workers on job sites in a way they will listen and learn?
It is not uncommon to find high schoolers or recent graduates on a job site. In many situations, like the one above, training is not given to protect workers who commonly work atop a ladder. When training is provided, these same younger workers do not realize the importance or grasp the serious nature of the training material.
Here are a few simple suggestions to help you better train younger employees within your company:
- Use modern, up-to-date videos that demonstrate and show the danger that comes from using ladders improperly.
- Provide hands on demonstrations at the job site showing proper and improper ladder use for each of their tasks.
- Tailor your tone and messaging to your audience in a way they will comprehend. Do not talk over their heads.
- Relate experiences of improper ladder usage and how injuries or accidents could have been prevented.
- Incorporate multimedia and humor. While nothing about on-the-job accidents is funny, humor can be used to hold a group’s attention and to get the point across in a different way than a trainer just telling them. Video clips from YouTube or a popular show can be used for entertaining, training and to show you relate with the audience, helping them be more likely to pay attention to you.
These are just a few of the many ways young workers can be trained on ladder safety practices. Remember, it is easy to focus on one age group, but it is important to realize there are younger people on job sites within your company as well.