In the hunt for summer jobs, can safety rival the almighty paycheck?

"I don't want to have the accident reported… My daughter needs this job to go back to college, and there aren't that many summer jobs in our town!"

Those were the words a father in upper state New York spoke to me recently. His daughter almost lost her sight after a caustic substance splashed in her eyes while she cleaned pools in her brand-new summer job. Her distressed father was seeking my advice.

I let him know that local safety professionals and inspectors are there to help him get the appropriate accident follow-up and to hold the pool cleaning company accountable.

But he didn't want to rock the boat! Didn't want to hurt his kid's chance of earning the money that will help her continue her education. Of course that extra cash helps - in fact, it's critical for a lot of families with college-age kids.

But to turn a blind eye to an accident that almost left your kid blind?? A pay check can't replace his daughter eyes or maybe next time, her life.

And he's not just hurting the chances of his kid surviving and thriving by not blowing the whistle; he's setting a dangerous precedent. The next person who takes a summer job at this pool cleaning company could end up hurt (or worse).

Everything seems to be absolutely wrong about the pool cleaning company this father described to me: Summer student workers are untrained and unsupervised, charged with handling hazardous materials without having eye protection to wear and without access to an eyewash station in case of an accident!

I like to tell businesses that if they don't offer O.T. [orientation and training], then they'll have to deal with staff T.O. [turnover].

With the college year coming to an end now (and the high school year not far behind),  I tell young people, too, and their parents that asking about proper O.T. is a MUST on the first day on a new job!

Forget about the traditional definition of O.T. - overtime. Orientation and Training are more important on the job, any job, than any amount of extra cash earned by extra hours will ever be!

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