August 6, 2018

Safe Work Australia Laments Young Workers Fatality Rate

The death of 14 young people in work-related incidents is too many, according to Safe Work Australia CEO, Michelle Baxter, who recently urged leaders to educate young workers about workplace health and safety.
“Fourteen young workers were killed in work-related incidents in 2016, which is fourteen workers too many,” said Baxter.
“Young workers have an increased risk of workplace injury due to lack of experience, maturity and awareness of WHS responsibilities, so we must focus on building safe and healthy workplaces for this vulnerable group.
“I can’t overstate the important role of employers, employees and business leaders in educating young workers about their WHS rights and responsibilities, providing the right tools and in ensuring they feel empowered to speak up about safety and health.
Baxter was speaking as part of the recent World Day for Safety and Health at Work and Workers’ Memorial Day (Saturday 28 April).
Safe Work Australia recently launched a young worker web page that provides access to resources and toolkits to help both young workers and their employers create safe and healthy workplaces.
Baxter’s comments came on the back of a number of incidents involving young workers in Victoria.
“It’s important that employees starting at new worksites are properly briefed on how to perform tasks safely and that those returning to work are reminded of the risks,” said WorkSafe Victoria head of operations and emergency management Adam Watson.
He said young workers were particularly vulnerable and needed extra care and attention from supervisors.
“Young workers often lack experience and can be reluctant to ask questions,” he said.
“They need to be educated about the risks involved in their jobs.
“Employers need to ensure they receive the correct training and supervision and feel comfortable about speaking up if they are uncertain about any task they are given.”

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