Young workers are at risk if this is missing

By Jeff Salton on April 6th, 2018
  1. Risk Management
  2. Workplace Safety


Young workers (aged from 15-24 years) make up a substantial proportion of the workforce. They can bring energy, new ideas and a fresh perspective to your business. However, according to SafeWork Australia, young workers are also at risk of workplace injury due to their lack of experience and maturity. Young workers also often lack an awareness of health and safety risks and responsibilities.

Without good leadership, SafeWork Australia (SWA) says you could be putting your young workers at increased risk.

That’s why the theme for this year’s 2018 World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day’s (Saturday 28 April) is: Build safe and healthy workplaces for young workers and future generations!

What is good leadership?

According to SWA, employers, supervisors, managers and other leaders of young workers have the greatest influence on young workers’ attitude to health and safety. They can help create safe and healthy environments for young workers by:

  • providing the right tools, training and supervision to complete their work safely;
  • educating them about their health and safety rights and responsibilities;
  • empowering them to have the confidence to speak up about health and safety in the workplace; and
  • fostering a positive workplace culture that engages young workers in health and safety.

Your health and safety duties

A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) is ultimately responsible for health and safety. They must ensure the health and safety of all workers so far as is reasonably practicable. This includes protecting young workers from both physical and psychological hazards. Young workers are often more vulnerable to workplace bullying and harassment.

Young workers need good leadership because they usually are:

  • developing their skills, competencies and physical capabilities;
  • unfamiliar with appropriate workplace behaviours;
  • reluctant to make requests, ask questions or speak out about problems;
  • overly keen to please and make a good impression; and
  • sometimes over-confident in their capabilities.

The Health and Safety Handbook chapter on Young Workers has much more information about how to minimise the risks for young workers at your workplace, as well as outlining young workers’ responsibilities to themselves, co-workers and your business.

The chapter’s resources include step-by-step instructions on how to reduce the risk of injury to young workers, as well as guides on induction, training, and creating an overall safe environment for all workers.

Subscribe to the Handbook today to take advantage of the health and safety legal experts at Holding Redlich. The Young Workers chapter – and the other 70-plus chapters – are all written in plain English, so the advice is easy to understand and implement.

Don’t delay. Subscribe today.


Related Articles: