WorkSafe Encourages young workers to speak up at work

WorkSafe recently revealed an awareness campaign urging young workers to speak up at work. The campaign was motivated by the work related injuries of 2 young people in Victoria.

The campaign entitled “Not Sure Ask” has been described as a “graphic and confronting public awareness campaign” by the organisation and will incorporate television, radio, online advertising as well as social media.The television ads will be screened over the next month and has the support of universities and TAFEs across the state.

The campaign is aimed at young workers between the ages of 15-24 in particular because these have been identified as the most at risk and the strategy of the campaign is to encourage them to be more vocal if they have any uncertainties about how to carry out a task, use certain equipment, chemicals or handle machinery.

The advertising campaign will highlight the importance of that split second decision to not speak up which ends up have serious even fatal consequences for young workers in particular. Young workers have been known to be shy when it comes to speaking up about safety concerns or uncertainties on a work site. This may be due to a fear of victimisation, unfamiliarity with the workplace and people there or just immaturity but whatever the reason, keeping quiet about safety can result in death.

Read what posted about the campaign:

“Victoria is acknowledged as having the safest workplaces for young workers in the nation. And yet, almost 15,000 young workers have been seriously injured over the past five years,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.

“It’s a tragedy that so many young people at the very start of their working lives are still being injured and our statistics show that there are around 3000 workers aged under 25 injured each year in Victorian workplaces.

“That is why we believe campaigns like this are really important to help us drive home the message to young workers that it never hurts to ask and demonstrate to them that there can be life-long consequences of not speaking up.”

WorkCover Chief Executive Denise Cosgrove said there were many reasons why young workers were reluctant to speak about up safety.

“Our research tells us that many young workers don’t want to appear stupid or incapable in front of colleagues or supervisors, or felt too insecure to ask while others felt overwhelmed in a new and unfamiliar environment, or didn’t want to bother their busy manager,” she said.

“That’s why it’s essential employers and supervisors not only provide appropriate supervision and training but create a workplace where young workers feel comfortable about speaking up.”

Read more:

Although the campaign focuses on the actions of employees and encouraging young workers to speak out, employers hiring young, apprentice workers also have a role to play. They must recognise that these workers are at a higher risk of being injured especially in high risk industries such as the construction sector. They need to be aware that young workers may require extra training and should be supervised especially when engaging in high risk tasks until they can demonstrate competency to work independently. It is also vital that employers encourage an atmosphere of openness and good communication with employees to facilitate open dialogue among employees and management to ensure good safety practices.

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