Data delivered by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) has revealed 15 to 24-year-olds as the most vulnerable workers in the state.
The age range represents over 16 per cent of Queensland’s workforce and more than 4,400 reports of serious injuries each year.
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 when they don’t survive.
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. Across Queensland, we lost 45 young people.
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 profiles of young workers and how to manage health and safety risks.
Young workers in this profile 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 a range of resources to educate businesses on safety operations and encourages everyone to slow down around young workers – to take extra time to tell them, show them and watch them.
WHSQ won’t hesitate taking action against businesses and individuals that put young workers at risk.
New advertising will also run over the holiday period to raise awareness of how important it is to support young workers as they take the first steps in their working lives.