According to WorkCover, young workers are those aged 15-24 years who are working permanently, casually, on labour hire, as an apprentice/trainee or as part of work experience or a structured workplace learning program.
There are a number of factors that put young workers at a greater health and safety risk including:
- Lack of experience, knowledge or skill to fully appreciate the risks in the tasks they are performing
- An inability to protect themselves or co-workers from injury as well as a more experienced worker might
- An overconfidence in their work, performing tasks that may be beyond their current mental and physical capabilities
- Lack of appropriate training and inductions
- More reserved in asking questions or raising safety issues
To combat and limit these risks employers must ensure that you:
- Have policies and procedures in place
- Promote a strong safety culture
- Carry out an induction
- Provide adequate training
- Provide adequate supervision
- Ensure regular consultation
Although it may seem that young workers carry a great risk, they also bring new innovations and enthusiasm to the role and prove to be effective members of the working team.