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Taking care of young rural workers and international workers

If you’re an employer preparing to introduce young people or overseas backpackers to your business, it’s important you ensure they are properly trained and supervised in their new roles.

Farm workers and inexperienced workers have some of the highest injury rates of any worker group. Young workers and inexperienced backpackers need more supervision and communication than experienced workers, which is why employers and supervisors have a duty of care to train and supervise them in proper safety procedures.

Employers must consider the tasks they give to new and young workers, given their skills, abilities and experience. Before a person begins work, it’s vital to identify the gaps in their knowledge and assess their ability to work safely. Competency should be tested. It is not sufficient to accept a young worker's assurance that they are experienced and competent.

Inexperienced workers also needed to have risk management strategies and their rights to a safe working environment explained to them, including:

  • how to identify and manage psychosocial hazards like bullying, harassment, or work-related violence and aggression
  • workplace safety communication and consultation processes
  • requirements for workplace training, supervision and incident reporting.

Workers have responsibilities too, including following all reasonable instructions, policies and procedures.

More information

If your business employs young workers you can learn more about working with young workers.