Loss Control Insights for Public Sector
Safety for Seasonal and Temporary Workers
As you start preparing for summer, you may be thinking about hiring some seasonal workers. Many municipalities hire short-term employees to help with summer parks and rec programs, act as lifeguards at public pools or assist with maintenance work. Because these workers are often young and inexperienced, they can be especially vulnerable to workplace injuries.
Provide the Right Training for Summer JobsSeasonal workers are usually new to the job at hand, so it's important to communicate your expectations clearly and provide hands-on training to help them be successful. Take the time for a new employee orientation, and don't forget to address the specific hazards they'll encounter and any protective equipment they are expected to wear or procedures they must follow. Never assume that new workers will just figure things out as they go.
Supervise New Summer Workers to Prevent AccidentsIt's important to supervise new employees, at least initially, to make sure they're applying their training correctly. One good option is to partner a new worker with a more experienced employee who can monitor their work and provide immediate feedback.
Keep Young Workers Safe During Temporary Work
Young workers are more likely to be injured on the job. Based on studies of emergency room visits, the injury rate for workers under the age of 25 is approximately twice that of workers 25 and over. Ensure young, inexperienced employees get adequate training, supervision and are able to ask questions to help avoid accidents.
When hiring seasonal workers, keep in mind that the Department of Labor does not allow employees under the age of 18 to perform certain hazardous occupations. These include roofing operations, excavation operations and most driving of motor vehicles (except for a few limited circumstances).
Be Vigilant About Summer Hazards
Summer work often means working in heat and humidity. Follow practices to avoid heat illness, including:
- Gradual acclimation to heat
- Making water available to outdoor workers
- Providing breaks in a cool or shaded area
- Conducting outdoor work during the coolest times of the day, when possible
- Understanding the signs and symptoms of heat illness