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Time to think of young workers

At this time of year, many young Queenslanders are starting their first permanent jobs after leaving school or university, and employers are reminded new starters need extra attention to ensure they work safely.

Young workers have a higher rate of injury than older workers and are overly represented in workers’ compensation claims. Some common causes of injuries young workers are often more vulnerable to include:

  • operating plant and machinery
  • using hand tools and knives
  • manual handling
  • contact with electricity
  • working on or around vehicles and quad bikes
  • working at heights
  • workplace violence or bullying.

New starters also are super keen to impress and don’t always know the correct processes and procedures to ensure their work safety – and that of their workmates.  Determined to get their careers off to a good start, young workers can ignore risks in order to get ahead.

With some workplaces suffering COVID-related staff shortages, it's important to plan ahead and not rush to get young workers on the shop floor unprepared or unequipped with the knowledge and training they need to complete tasks safely.

Young workers have a unique risk profile and it's up to employers to consider this when managing them—a proper induction, plenty of support, training and supervision are vital. This risk profile applies irrespective of the young workers' employment status (work experience, casual, sub-contractor, apprentice, trainee, etc).

Most young people learn by watching others, so it's important those who supervise young workers understand this.

Further Information

Download our Young Worker Safety Toolkit designed to help employers, supervisors, influencers and trainers engage with young people about work health and safety.