The Spring months traditionally bring new life, and now in June fledglings prepare to leave the nest and make their way in the world. As a parent of a 21 and 23 year old I have encouraged them to spread their wings , develop themselves and find work that they enjoy and find fulfilling. However, as they have grown it has become more difficult to protect them, all you can really do is provide advice and support as they meet the challenges of working for a living.
The 19th of April, 1st and 9th June 2016 were significant dates for three families in the UK, dates when 3 businesses in the UK were prosecuted by the HSE for accidents involving their young people. A 16 year old losing a finger in a rotary press, a 21 year old killed by an exploding tyre and a 27 year old crushed to death by a vehicle. In each case these young workers were ‘fledglings’, the finger loss was ‘entirely preventable’, the tyre company had not provided training or ensured the young worker was competent to undertake the task and the waste management firm had ‘failed to put in place basic legal requirements of training and supervision. The death of this young man was entirely avoidable’.
Such life changing injuries and gaps left in families are unnecessary, these accidents did not have to happen!
RoSPA’s National Occupational Safety and Health Committee (NOSHC) has just concluded an inquiry into the health and safety arrangements for apprentices. One of the key findings is that there needs to be a focus not just on keeping apprentices safe, but teaching them more broadly about hazard, risk and control, as well as the essentials of safe and healthy working, not least as a foundation for further health and safety training if and when they go on to more senior roles. NOSHC believe that this would also provide a foundation to help apprentices make safe choices outside of work.
Our fledgling workers should be nurtured and enabled to reach their full potential, not curtailed before they learn to fly!