Singapore

Young people must learn safety at work


Young people are more likely to suffer occupational injuries compared to older workers, and there is a need to better prepare them for the hazards they will face at work, Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo said yesterday.

They can go on to play key roles in raising awareness of safety and health at the workplace after being educated, she said at the inaugural international youth congress at the 21st World Congress on Safety and Health at Work.

Mrs Teo said the focus on young people is especially important as data from the International Labour Organisation shows that workers aged 15 to 24 are 40 per cent more likely to get hurt at work, compared to their older counterparts.

One reason is that many of them are temporary or part-time workers or apprentices, and lack experience.

Health and safety concerns are usually far from their minds, she said at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

Mrs Teo said efforts are underway to promote a strong culture of safety among students so it "becomes ingrained as one is growing up".

For example, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) has incorporated 12 workplace safety and health (WSH) courses into its curriculum.

The WSH Council also developed an interactive online learning tool for children aged eight to 14 to learn about basic safety and health.

More will be done for the 400,000 or so primary and secondary school students in the next three years, through animation and other videos produced by the council, she added.

Mrs Teo said about 40 people are in the pioneer batch of newly appointed Singapore WSH Youth Champions.

They will be trained in safety and health concepts that they can impart to peers at roadshows and seminars.

She urged them to share their knowledge and "speak up if you see poor practices at workplaces and even in school laboratories".

Ms Rebekah Peh, 24, an automotive diploma student at ITE College West and one of the youth champions, said she hopes more students can learn about safety issues.

"For technical courses like mine, we do learn about that, but other courses may not include it," she said.

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