A staggering 70 percent of undergrads set aside time to work during the school year, and with good reason. With living expenses and tuition bills to foot, students can use the extra money and are often eager to accept temporary jobs.
Businesses near campuses, like restaurants, fitness centers, tutoring facilities, or retail stores actively recruit college students for part-time jobs. Why? Because students are an ideal fit for part-time employment, especially for seasonal positions that offer minimal and flexible hours.
Regardless of their age or number of shifts worked, student employees are still the responsibility of their managers. Should something happen while on the job, managers and the business are held liable for any job-related injuries.
With temporary employees constantly filtering in and out, managers must make employee safety a top priority to prevent accidents or injuries and to create a safer work environment. Here are some tips to ensure the safety and well-being of your part-time college student workers.
Part-Time Jobs Present Safety Risks
All employees—full-time or part-time—have a right to the same protection and safety in the workplace. While student employees often work sporadic hours to accommodate their school schedules, it can be difficult to coordinate a time to conduct proper training.
Training students for cyclical jobs that require specific skills is vital for businesses that want to create (and be known for) a safe work environment. Why? Well, it goes without saying that untrained workers can present greater safety risks.
College students may struggle to prioritize and remain focused on the job, especially when balancing schoolwork, a social life and extracurricular activities. Be aware that work may not be their main priority and consider potential hurdles that could impact their ability to work, such as:
- College students often lack real-world work experience or maturity.
- College students’ schedules change frequently, making it harder to plan orientations.
How Proper Training Leads to a Safer Work Environment
Now let’s consider some of the perks to employing college students. If you’re close to a college campus, you have the luxury of access to a large pool of workers who are willing to take lower paying jobs.
But, to make this work for your business and employees, proper training is crucial to ensure the safety of the less experienced workforce. It doesn’t take much to reduce the occurrence of workplace injuries. To start, facilitate proactive job- and site-specific training for all employees that covers:
- Disciplinary policies should an employee disobey safety rules.
- Employee rights in the workplace.
- Job responsibilities and expectations.
- Potential safety hazards, fire prevention plans, emergency procedures and,.
- Proper equipment use, especially if the job requires students to handle machinery or manage heavy lifting.
How to Protect Part-Time Employees Work-Related Hazards
Many on-the-job injuries are preventable with the right training and cooperation. Clearly communicate expectations and safety standards to all employees, and make sure your entire staff understands their roles and responsibilities.
Set the standard for safety and success by eliminating any gray areas and possible confusion.
And take a page from the pros — OSHA recommends the following practices to prevent injuries and improve workplace safety:
- Communicate your business’ safety program at the start of new projects, whenever temporary workers are brought onto an existing project or whenever hazards are introduced into the workplace.
- Confirm all employees who drive are covered by auto insurance should they get into an accident while using university or commercial vehicles.
- Ensure part-time employees understand their rights and proper reporting procedures in the case of an injury.
- Invest in liability insurance to protect business assets and temporary worker’s compensation to cover any injuries suffered by part-time employees.
- Only place workers where they are physically and mentally capable of completing the task at hand.
- Provide workers with any necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep employees safe while on the job.
- Report any job-related injuries on your OSHA 300 Log, and document your job hazard analysis and PPE assessments.
- Treat part-time workers as you would full-time employees by providing the same level of training and hazard protection from the start.
Are you doing everything you can to reduce the risk of workplace injuries? Avoid cutting corners when it comes to safety and focus on protecting your most valuable asset: your staff. Update and enforce new policies today to better manage your part-time workers and enhance safety in the workplace.