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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Making Your Work Site New and Young Worker Safe

Source : CarbonNYC

Young workers are particularly vulnerable to safety issues because of their inexperience and lack of on the job training. Employers need to be aware of new and young workers vulnerability in a workplace as dangerous as a construction site, that includes assessing the risks of the job to these workers and know how to overcome them. Once the proper safety practices have been put in place to protect young workers and they are being adequately supervised, employers should continue to monitor and assess these practices. Any unsafe practices should be corrected immediately. Also supervisors should be available to respond to workers enquiries should they have any.

Communicating with young workers about health and safety on construction sites is vital. Not only will this have immediate benefits for their safety but will also positively impact their attitude, skills and behaviour on site. That is why it is best to foster an attitude of open discussion and questions. Let young and new workers know that your door is always open to answer an questions they may have about safety.

It is also important that employers provide workers with a safe and healthy environment as per legal requirements. The employer must also ensure that workers are appropriately trained, informed and capable of carry out the tasks expected of them. Safety training is a pre-requisite for any construction worker and no worker should be allowed to work on a construction site without general safety induction training. Equipping young workers with the necessary knowledge to do their job is vital to their safety. Also do not expect them to carry out dangerous or unfamiliar tasks without the appropriate supervision. Whether workers are new or experienced, contract or permanent, whatever the terms of their employment employers must ensure they are provided with a safe work environment, the appropriate training and PPE required for the job.

Some of the hazards that workers must protect workers from includes both physical and psychological workplace hazards, such as slippery floors, heavy loads, unguarded machinery and equipment, faulty equipment, chemicals, bullying, violence and fatigue.

All workers, not only young ones should be trained on general construction site safety as well as site specific training to familiarize workers with the appropriate safety measures to combat hazards specific to the site. Proper induction and training is important for demonstrating and reinforcing sound and safe work practices for young and inexperienced workers.

The level of training young workers should receive is dependent on the workers level of industry experience, skills, abilities and hazards present.

There have been a large number of workers injured and even killed because of their inexperience even though they had undergone safety training. That is why it is important that before a young person begins work the employer should identify the gaps in their knowledge and assess their ability to work safely. They should also test workers competency before allowing them onto the work site. Employers should not take for granted that the worker is sufficiently competent to successfully perform the tasks they are being asked to undertake because this is how the majority of accidents involving young and new workers happen.

Remember:  Construction site safety starts with getting a White Card – you can get yours from


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