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YOUTH’S HEALTH AND SAFTY ON THE WORK PLACE.

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Youth Health and Safety at Workplace
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University/College
Youth Health and Safety at Workplace
Introduction
Workplace health and safety is one of the major issues, which is important for any organized sector. Across every industry, accidents and workplace hazards occur amongst the different group of individuals. The youth employees are no exception to such phenomenon. Injuries or accidents can occur due to improper workplace design, poor environmental conditions, poor design of machines and poor design of the job. Such factors may lead to physical and psychological constraints, which induces error and makes an individual prone to injuries. Accidents and compromise on safety issues at the workplace reduces the productivity of any organization with the loss of man days and loss of man hours (Pais et al, 2013).
However, the health and safety concerns are disregarded either by the employees themselves or by their employers. Even considering for gender-based response, it is noted that male employees have a tendency to under-report injuries more than the female employees. There are various socio-economic and legal reasons for such behavior (Curtis et al, 2007). The present article would try to evaluate the health and safety issues at the workplace, concerning youth employees. The article would also reflect upon the injury report pattern, amongst male and female employees and the likely basis of such deviation (Laberge, Vezina & Saint –Charles, 2013).

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Finally, the article would provide a roadmap so as to minimize injuries at the workplace and to improve the reported pattern of injuries.
Workplace Accidents and Injuries: Background
Workplace accidents and injuries are common in any organization. The accident is defined as a deviation from normal work procedure that is detrimental from the person involved on the job. Such deviations lead to injuries or produces harmful effects, which is detrimental to the health of the individual in the short term and long term. There are various reasons for industrial accidents and workplace injuries. Such factors either pertains to the employer, or to the employees or may be attributed to the work environment or it may be due to the constraints of the socio-economic environment (Grant Smith & McDonald, 2015).
Causes of Workplace Injuries
The factors related to employers include placing increased demand for performance without considering the physiological or psychological constraints of employees, cost curtailment by improper maintenance of workplace safety and machines, and lack of health insurance system that aggravates injuries and lastly, the threat to employment. The factors which induces injury due to employee related factors include error at work due to physiological and psychological constraints, inability to manage stress through coping strategies, overtime due to economical constraints, lack of adequate skill levels needed to perform a job, fear of retaliation leading to chronic effects of injury and pressure of performance (Pais, 2011).
The socio-economic factors that impose injury include job insecurity, competition, and politics within the organization, peer performance, and lack of the proper forum to negotiate compensation (Pais, 2011). The workplace factors that influence injuries and safety are called occupational hazards. Occupational Hazards are recognized as one of the leading causes of workplace accidents. These hazards may be physical which means that a workplace may be too hot or too cold; it may be noisy and there may be threats of ionizing radiation that imposes injury. The chemical occupational hazards include inhalation, ingestion or dermal contact of toxic and carcinogenic substances which impacts the health of an employee. Biological hazards like the presence of infective microbes may also be injurious to employees. Further, there are mechanical hazards due to poor design of machines and workstations. Lastly, the psychological constraints due to job dissatisfaction and employer behavior induce anxiety and depression leading to injuries (Tucker et al, 2014).
Specific Causes: Focus on Youth Employees
Young workers are prone to accidents and injuries like the older workers. Transportation related injuries are common and often occur due to substance abuse in them. Moreover, various aspiration goals that are either practical or impractical lead them to suffer injuries at the workplace. Moreover, child labor without proper physical and psychological development leads them to injuries. These individuals cannot recognize the safety alerts and often underestimates them. This disregard often stems from unawareness of environmental and occupational safety guidelines and the personal traits. It is often noted that the flamboyance of the youth employees, often make them prone to accidents even after controlling for employer and safety-related considerations. Fatalities have also been reported due to accidental falls and acts of violence (Windau & Meyer, 2005).
Nature of Injuries
The injuries occurring at the workplace may be physical or psychological. Physical injuries include cuts, tear, subdural hematoma, cardiovascular ailments like left ventricular failure, femur fractures and work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The natures of injuries vary across gender and also within a given gender. A job that is more physical and requires physical skills imposes physical and psychological constraints. Jobs that are not physically demanding can still impose physical and psychological injuries. The psychological health issues include depression, anxiety and panic disorders amongst employees. Often it s noted that the employees belief in self-advocacy of treatment or deny any injury, which increases the health risk of the employee in the long run (Grant Smith & McDonald, 2015).
Cost of Injuries
The injuries suffered by youth employees at the workplace, leads to both direct and indirect costs. The direct cost of injury is imposed on the employee where he suffers from healthcare problems; such problems prevents him or her going to employment that impacts his financial and economic interests. On the other hand, the injuries suffered by employees reduce the work output and productivity of an organization. This is due to absenteeism in injured employees and employees working with unreported injuries. Both these situations lead to ineffective time that hampers the productivity and production of an organization.
Reporting of Injuries
Although in various organizations, there exists a feedback system of safety and injury, such instruments are undermined in real practice settings. Once again such disregard may be related to employer and employee perspectives. Often, the employers feel, it is just mandatory to instill labor laws, based on safety parameters due to legal guidelines. On the other hand, some employers view such instruments as screening tools for assessing employee viability about the job functions (Tucker et al, 2014). In case of employee perspective, individuals underreport injuries due to fear of retaliation from employees. Either because their skill levels may be questioned or they may be imposed a threat of job insecurity (Sum et al, 2014). The conscious and trained youth may voice safety concerns in an organization, but such concerns are diluted by employer unwillingness (Grant Smith & McDonald, 2015). Whether it is employer related or employee related, injuries are not properly reflected and this certainly jeopardizes care and performance (Grant Smith & McDonald, 2015).
Legal Perspective
Injuries are encouraged by employees and employers due to the legal strictures associated with labor laws. In ea and every country child labor is punishable under law. Therefore, children or youth who are employed due to financial constraints cannot report injuries, since they are not legally entitled to work. On the other hand, employers tend to underreport injuries or undermine safety parameters that could increase the cost of production. They just make certain legal provisions that might be inappropriate or inadequate. Lack of factory investigation also encourages them to take advantage of rules and regulations framed by legal authorities.
Way Forward
It should be acknowledged without any debate that youth, irrespective of gender are prone to health concerns and safety parameters at the workplace. Therefore, the individuals themselves should be aware regarding the detrimental effects of injuries in the long run and must self-advocate for the design of safety protocol in an industry. Wherever possible they should take legal help in imposing safety at the workplace. In the context of employers they should follow the principles of Ergonomics in selecting employees for a job and design of machines and work environment. Employees should be selected by “fitting the task to a man and not fitting the man to a task” (Laberge, Vezina & Saint-Charles, 2012).
Such philosophies would reduce the physical and psychological stress on a worker, and will make them less prone to injuries. Employers must encourage reporting of injuries since they need to understand that workers who are working with injuries may not provide optimum performance. The employers should maintain a transparent system so that injuries become reported. This would also help employers in designing instruments and machines that would be compatible for employees. Moreover, shift schedules may be designed based on the physical and psychological constraints faced by employees due to the demand of the job. Finally, all such interventions will lead to increased productivity of an organization and preserve the health of employees

References
Curtis Breslin, F., Polzer, J., MacEachen, E., Morrongiello, B., & Shannon, H. (2007).
Workplace injury or ”part of the job”?: Towards a gendered understanding of injuries
And complaints among young workers. Social Science, 64(4), 782-793
Grant-Smith, D., & McDonald, P. (2015). The practical potential of self-advocacy for
improving safety outcomes for school-aged workers. Journal Of Youth Studies,
18(10), 1257-1273
Laberge, M., VéZina, N., & Saint-Charles, J. (2012). Safe and healthy integration into
semiskilled jobs: does gender matter?. Work, 414642-4649
Pais, J. (2011). Socioeconomic background and racial earnings inequality: A propensity score
analysis. Social Science Research, 40(1), 37-49
Sum, A., Khatiwada, I., McHugh, W., & Kent, W. (2014). Deteriorating Labor Market
Fortunes for Young Adults. Challenge, 57(3), 60-83
Tucker, S., Diekrager, D., Turner, N., & Kelloway, E. K. (2014). Work-related injury
underreporting among young workers: Prevalence, gender differences, and explanations
for underreporting. Journal Of Safety Research, 5067-73
Windau, J. W., & Meyer, S. M. (2005). Occupational injuries among young workers.
Monthly Labor Review, 128(10), 11-23

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