Young Female Workers and Psychosocial Hazards

While young worker injuries and fatalities skew greatly towards young males and much is said about their lack of risk aversion, females in the same young worker age category are far from immune to workplace hazards.

Yes, they may be less likely to jump from rooftop to rooftop but along with physical dangers on the job, they are prone to psychosocial hazards. These are hazards that effect the mental well-being or mental health of a worker. There are a wide range of causes including harassment, bullying and even threat of violence.

While the above is a list of very overt forms of psychosocial hazards, there are others that are not as evident. These involve workplace issues like high workload and long hours. And then there are factors that originate away from work that come in to play. If they are dealing with stress at school or a domestic issue, these can cause them to be distracted or tired, both causal factors in numerous workplace incidences.

It’s important for parents and other adult influencers of young female workers to be attune to their behavior for any clues that indicate they may be experiencing stress associated with psychosocial hazards. They may be more irritable than usual, sullen or offer other non-verbal cues that indicate something is amiss.

And of course, engage them in conversation about their work. This includes queries about their workplace and the people they work with. Sometimes being indirect is the best way to keep the dialogue flowing. In other words, rather than ask them directly if they are being harassed, ask if there are any people who act inappropriately or if anybody is being harassed. If they indicate in any way that psychosocial hazards are present, remind them of their worker’s rights. They need to know that they should not tolerate harassment in any form. If you sense that something more serious may be at play consider seeking support to help you handle the situation effectively. This will be available through their school guidance office if they still attend school, the Ministry of Labour and other resources that are likely available in your community.

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