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Safety: employers ‘prejudiced’ against younger workers

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Research reveals that the majority of employers are prejudiced against younger workers when it comes to workplace safety.

According to Croner, six in ten employers said that younger workers are more likely to take risks with safety at work compared to older colleagues.

Almost as many – 54 per cent – said that younger people are more likely to cause workplace accidents. Only 27 per cent disagreed.

Older workers are considered a much safer bet – as 51 per cent think younger workers need more supervision.

But Croner is warning that determining an employee’s suitability to carry out a role or task based on prejudices could leaver employers falling foul of the new age discrimination legislation.

Nasar Farooq, safety technical manager at Croner, says: “Safety considerations should never be used as an excuse to discriminate against any worker young or old. But our research shows the common myths that young people are inexperienced and can’t be trusted could be affecting workplace decisions, putting employers in breach of age discrimination legislation.

“Myths and stereotypes about age must be directly countered through education and training of the workforce. Current findings indicate that age is not a detriment of the capacity to do well in a job, as long as the person has the right attitude, capability and competence.”

Potential risks associated with carrying out a workplace task should be assessed based on the demands of the actual activity, unless the employee is under the age of 18 when there are specific requirements on the employer to assess the employee and not the task.

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