Active Health Workforce

Healthcare is the fastest-growing sector of the UAE. It employs over a million workers. Healthcare workers face a wide range of hazards on the job.

Hazard in point “Young Workers”

If you are responsible for training workers under 25, keep in mind the traits (or peer group norms) that drive this group. Understanding their mindset will help you develop effective health and safety training, specific to their needs.

What drives young workers?

  • Autonomy: This age group is working hard to act independently. Their behaviour is therefore often seen as rebellious. It is a necessary behaviour, however, for them to develop decision-making capabilities. An appropriate learning/education/training environment allows individuals to take some level of control for their learning.
  • Peer influence: Also known as peer pressure. Can we turn this into a positive through positive modelling?
  • Risk taking: Taking risks is often considered the "heroic" thing to do — a demonstration of autonomy or independence. This is particularly true of males. To grow, individuals have to be able to analyze and determine things for themselves, including identifying and managing hazardous situations. Working with young people requires that we acknowledge this tendency towards risk taking and find ways to manage the desire to test the limits.
  • High audio/visual sensation needs: The sensory/motor cortex and the vision and hearing centres are fairly well developed in this age group. But the connections between the emotions and thinking brain areas aren’t working as well. Emotions tend to rule, resulting in the gravitation towards high visual/audio sensations. Hormones in the pleasure centres drive the need for fast-moving and loud activities.

Take action!

The airline industry provides a good example of how to teach cognitive (thinking) skills. Student pilots take part in simulator exercises that allow them to experience possible piloting scenarios. Through this experience students learn to recognize inconsistencies, hazards, warning signs, etc., and how to manage these conditions. Training provided to young people needs to incorporate such learning opportunities.

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