Take care of young workers

Workplace injury statistics can be a real worry – particularly when it comes to young workers.

Not only does research indicate that 15 to 25 year olds have a 75 per cent greater chance of being injured at work, but in NSW alone, 15 workers in this age group are injured every day.

The top incidents causing injury to young workers are manual handling, slips, trips and falls, being hit by or hitting moving objects, and falls from height. The most common injuries are sprains, strains and fractures, burns, open wounds, bruising and crushing – with hand injuries topping the list.

A contributing factor is often an inability to recognise and cope with potential hazards, which requires knowledge, skills and experience only achieved after months or years on the job. Considering your junior workers might be students doing part-time or casual work, they can be at a disadvantage.

But the good news is that you can help make a difference by drumming safe work practices and behaviours into young workers from day one. While all new workers must receive sufficient training, supervision and support to be able to work safely, younger workers may require more attention.

Ensure they fully understand your workplace safety induction and encourage them to ask questions about anything they are unsure about.

Partner them with a more experienced co-worker to act as a ‘work buddy’ and provide support and advice.

Finally, get them to check out how simple safety can be.