Workplace injuries – Advice for teens
The first few years of work are a learning experience. Not only are you learning how to do the job at hand but you’re learning how to communicate in a new environment and how to be seen as a responsible member of staff. In these early years, young people can often feel shy about offering ideas, raising concerns or standing their ground in challenging situations.
As a result, it is common for young workers to feel overwhelmed if they find themselves involved in an incident at work where they may need to claim compensation. Sadly, on rare occasions, employers can take advantage of a young worker’s tendency to shy away from confronting situations.
While we hope that you never require compensation due to injury, we want to help you approach the situation comfortably, should you need to.
Know Your Rights
Most young people don’t speak up because they are not confident about what their rights are, both legal and ethical. Educate yourself about your rights at work and your rights to compensation. Read your employee contract, consult trusted family members or talk to legal professionals to thoroughly understand your employee agreement and your rights within the agreement.
Everything Starts with Communication
If you are hurt on the job, raise this with someone immediately. Ideally, this will be your manager or HR manager. However, in the absence of those two options, it is better that you tell someone, including a peer at your level, to ensure that the incident can be tracked and you have others who can attest to their knowledge of its occurrence.
Once you have told someone, write it down, immediately. You may think that you would remember, but there will be many details that get lost in the days and weeks following.
Dealing with these situations on your own is hard enough when you have spent a lifetime in the workforce. As a young worker facing these situations for the first time, it is a whirlwind. Often, you could be asked to speak to people – perhaps an accident investigator or HR – but you feel that they are trying to dismiss your concerns or twist the situation. To best handle this, seek representation and refer everyone to your solicitor.
Of course, it can feel intimidating to say no and refer people to your representation but it is much easier than being questioned, having your story misconstrued, or feeling as though you cannot take some control of the situation.
In all cases, don’t feel like speaking up means confrontation. Being heard is your right and if addressed politely but firmly, you should be able to confidently resolve the issue and get back to work with minimal fuss.
If you have been involved in a workplace accident and suffered an injury, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, and to arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800 or alternatively make an online enquiry.