Workplace Safety Training Minimal for Student Workers: Survey

June 26, 2014

A new poll of small business owners by Employers Holdings, Inc., a holding company with subsidiaries that are specialty providers of workers’ compensation insurance and services focused on select small businesses engaged in low-to-medium hazard industries, found that only one in five (19 percent) are planning to hire student workers this summer. Summer jobs at small businesses will remain flat compared to last year.

Employers Small Business Opinion Poll Snapshot:

  • 19 percent of small businesses are planning to hire student workers this summer.
  • 27 percent of small businesses do not offer workplace safety training for new student workers.
  • 52 percent of small businesses that intend to hire students this summer require they go through workplace safety training

Small businesses that plan to hire students this summer don’t anticipate much difficulty finding employees. Three-fourths of them said they expect finding a student worker to be easy. Small businesses value students because of their flexible schedules (33 percent), lower pay rate (27 percent) and ability to bring fresh ideas (14 percent).

Most 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). Only 13 percent plan to fill restaurant or food service positions and only 4 percent are hiring for retail jobs.

Among business owners, there is greater demand for college students than high school students. More than half (53 percent) of small business owners plan to hire college students this summer, followed by 39 percent who are looking for high school students. Only 6 percent anticipate hiring a post-graduate student.

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 one out of four 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 three 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.”

Source: Employers Holdings, Inc.

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