Speaking Out for Young Workers

Speaking Out for Young Workers

Commentary and news on occupational health and safety for young workers.


editor's blog

Starting the Dialogue about Safety and Health

Safety First

When do you start a dialogue about safety and health on the job? Is it ever too early to start the relaying the message of safety and health?

For Sauer Incorporated, jobsite safety and health is a family affair. It started when Mr. Lee Pryor, who is one of the managers of safety and health for the company, found that his eight year old son had drawn a picture of him at work and that the picture included safety equipment. The drawing made him realize just how much working safely each day impacts not only the jobsite, but each employee’s family as well. Knowing that his son was aware that working safely meant that his father would come home each day made a huge impact on his commitment to safety, and he knew that his fellow employees would feel the same way.

Mr. Pryor had the picture his son drew made into a larger sign and then he brought it to the next job wide meeting. His message was clear- a commitment to safety and health on the job by all employees and management would mean that for the employees’ children, their “hero” parent would get to come home each day. The mission for the employees, go home and talk to their families about safety and health, and then ask their children to draw pictures that the parents could bring into work as reminders of what was waiting at home.

The response was huge and the posters that were created by the employees’ children have made a lasting impact on the perception and understanding of jobsite safety and health.  In fact, the posters caught the attention of the Commander of the US Special Forces at the MacDill Air Force Base, who wanted to know why there was a child’s picture hanging up near the company flags. When he heard the story behind the pictures, he applauded the commitment to not only jobsite safety, but also the company’s commitment to the future.

The posters created by the children are displayed at the entrance to the company building to serve as a reminder that someone is waiting at home for each employee to return safely.

Maxwell High School Completes OSHA-10 hour Training

Maxwell High School Students Complete OSHA-10 Hour Training

In October 2010, students in the construction and welding programs at Maxwell High School completed an OSHA 10-hour in Construction course.  On January 6, 2011, fifty-four students received their OSHA 10-hour cards in award ceremonies.  This course was conducted as part of the Georgia Youth Alliance.  A special thanks goes to Brasfield & Gorrie for their continued support.

Young Worker TechGuides for a Quick Reference

Georgia Tech OSHA Consltation Program

Are you looking for quick reference guides for training or just a brief overview of different occupational hazards?  Georgia Tech’s 21d OSHA Consultation program has developed a series of brief TechGuides that are available for downloading in Adobe Acrobat format. Several are available specifically geared towards young workers, including one for those entering the food service and retail industries. You can download them from the OSHA Consultation website. For more information about Georgia Tech's 21d OSHA Consultation Program, please visit www.oshainfo.gatech.edu.

We want you!

We are in search of a creative and innovative Georgia Tech student to work with us on developing some of our training into online modules and games. If you are interested, please see the position detail below.  Here is a link to CareerBuzz where the job is posted: http://www.career.gatech.edu/plugins/content/index.php?id=241.  If you are a student, you will need to enter through the Student Portal in order to apply. 


Student Research Assistant (Occupational Safety & Health- Center for Young Worker Safety and Health) ELSYS 

Contact information: jenny.houlroyd@gtri.gatech.edu

Company Ref:  Occupational Safety & Health 

Professional Areas:  Industrial Engineering, Industrial Hygiene, Public Health, Engineering, Science or related field 

Location: ELSYS 

Job Commitment: Hourly as needed (approximately 10-20 hours per week)

Length of Commitment: Initial assignment would be from January (or hire date) through September 2010. There is a potential extension of the project for up to four years.

Department:  Electronic Systems Laboratory

Description: Seeking to hire a student studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Computational Media (BSCM) or Masters in Digital Media.

In 2009, over 300 people ages 15-24 were killed on the job. Young workers, who make up 14% of the US labor force, are disproportionately represented in dangerous job such as construction, transportation, agriculture, and mining. Young workers are twice as likely to end up in the emergency room when compared to workers 25 and older. This project is intended to reach out to these young workers as they enter the labor force and provide interactive, engaging training resources, which have the potential to not only prevent injuries and illnesses, but to also save lives. The student must be energetic and eager to use their creative capabilities to assist in the development of these training resources designed to protect workers.

Student will assist in the development of training programs to educate young workers for the Center for Young Worker Safety and Health at Georgia Tech.  This will include developing online games to be used as training tools.

Primary tasks include:

  • Conduct an analysis to determine what training is already available
  • Assist in designing and developing the context for converting the live training to online training and games
  • Assist in the developmental process of designing the future stages of the process
  • Assist with data management of course participants and course evaluation survey results

Understanding Why Young Worker Safety and Health Training is so Important

“Statistics are human beings with the tears wiped off.” Paul Brodeur

As we develop and create our Center for Young Worker Safety and Health at GTRI, it is easy to get caught up in the statistics and the myriad of reasons why young worker safety and health training is so important. However, it is critical to remind ourselves that behind each statistic, there are human beings, young individuals at the beginning of their lives that are impacted by hazards in the workplace.

We would like to share with you a true story about a construction accident that nearly killed Curtis Zanussi, who was 24 years old at the time.  This video, created by WorkSafeBC, shows how each occupational injury has a far reaching impact in the lives of not only the individual, but the person’s family, friends, and co-workers.  Please take a few minutes out of your day to hear why young worker safety and health training and outreach it is so important all over the globe.

The Curtis Zanussi Story

Information on Curtis Zanussi was used with permission from WorkSafeBC. For more information on the Curtis Zanussi Story, for a discussion guide, or to view other videos produced by WorkSafeBC, please visit their website.

We want to hear your thoughts. Do you have a story you would like to share about an occupational injury or illness you experienced?  How could an accident like this have been prevented? What role do employers and supervision play in preventing injuries and illnesses? Share your comments below.


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