Summer jobs at local restaurants, retail stores, medical offices and other small businesses may be hard to come by for student workers this summer, according to a new poll of small business owners by Employers Holdings, which found that only 1 in 5 (19 percent) are planning to hire students this summer.
The small businesses that are hiring this summer are looking to fill clerical or office work positions (42 percent) or need help with construction work or manual labor (41 percent), according to the poll.
Only 13 percent plan to fill restaurant or food service positions, and only 4 percent are hiring for retail jobs.
Small businesses value students because of their flexible schedules (33 percent), lower pay rate (27 percent) and ability to bring fresh ideas (14 percent).
Workplace Safety Training for Students Often Overlooked
“Many small businesses don’t recognize the risks associated with student workers and don’t provide any type of workplace safety training,” said Employers Chief Operating Officer Stephen V. Festa. “Even though they may be temporary, these workers are eligible for the same workers compensation benefits as full-time employees if they get injured or ill on the job.”
More than 1 in 4 small-business owners polled (27 percent) said they do not offer workplace safety training for new student workers they employ. Among those who do offer it, only half (52 percent) say that it is required.
Small businesses that employ students may overlook workplace safety training due to a false sense of security.
“Last summer, only 3 percent of business owners who hired students reported that they had one get injured or ill on the job,” Festa explained. “While a low incident rate is good news, overlooking workplace safety is a poor business decision. By creating a culture of safety, costly employee injuries may be prevented.”
Festa recommends small-business owners follow these four steps to ensure the safety of all their employees:
- Identify and assess potential hazards: Take time to identify and document potential hazards as well as put proper safety procedures in place before employees use equipment or materials. For example, rubber-soled shoes should be worn by all employees in restaurants or warehouses where floors are slippery. Documenting these procedures is especially important because it establishes a record that can be referenced in the event of an OSHA inspection or insurance audit.
- Provide education and training: Provide all workers with information and training on their injury and illness prevention programs. It is especially important that training sessions are held whenever new substances, processes, procedures or equipment are introduced into the workplace. Training should include how to identify potential hazards, how to prevent common accidents and what to do if one occurs. Workers must be trained in a language that they understand, especially in a bilingual environment.
- Enlist management and employee participation: Employees at all levels should be involved in establishing, implementing and evaluating safety programs. Managers should be encouraged to lead by example and be held accountable for workplace safety.
- Evaluate program effectiveness: Business owners must routinely evaluate their workplace safety program. Annual reviews should be completed or whenever new or previously unknown hazards are discovered.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, were collected by SSRS SmallBiz Omnibus, an independent market research company. Interviews were completed via telephone with a nationally representative sample of 505 small-business owners that have fewer than 100 employees. Fieldwork was conducted May 14-29, 2014.
Source: Employers Holdings, Inc.