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Give young workers the keys to on-the-job safety

Young people aged 15 to 24 are the most vulnerable workers in the state. They represent 16 per cent of Queensland’s workforce and there are more than 4,400 reports of serious injuries every year.

Across the country, since 2012, the age group has suffered more than 191 workplace deaths and the highest number of injury claims in a decade.

Serious injuries are often life-altering and sometimes fatal. They are always devastating, and the aftermath has a huge impact on the young workers who survive them, as well as the loved ones who are left behind if they don’t survive.

These statistics are a startling reminder of why it's critical for business owners, colleagues, young workers, and their communities to understand the unique risk profile of young workers and how to manage health and safety risks for this group.

Young workers are often transitioning from school or study into work. They are keen to do a good job to impress their boss, so often feel pressured to do whatever tasks are asked of them - but they might avoid asking questions or raising concerns, particularly about safety.

They're young, they have unique developmental and generational factors that can increase their likelihood of being injured and typically, they’re more likely to be injured in their first six months in a new job.

Employers must ensure the work environment and the way all work is done is healthy and safe. This includes protecting young workers from both physical and psychological workplace hazards. All young workers must receive information, training, instruction, and supervision on how to work safely.

WHSQ has published a number of resources including a safety toolkit to help protect young people so they can contribute to a healthier, safer, fairer and more productive workforce – so they, like everyone else, can work safe, and get home safe.

Read more and download the Young workers toolkit.