The injury rate among young workers has been steadily increasing over the past few years in Queensland with young workers suffering higher rates of work related injuries than older workers.
Young workers have unique characteristics and a unique workplace risk profile. Many of these characteristics may be attributed to the growth, development and maturation that they are experiencing intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally. They may also be attributed to their risk taking behaviours and inexperience.
The workplace health and safety challenges posed by theses characteristics may lessen or disappear as young workers age and gain experience. However, waiting for this to happen rather than engaging with young workers will result in lost opportunities for long term positive health and safety outcomes.
Employers and workplace health and safety professionals need to engage young workers and manage their unique risk profile, keeping in mind the following:
Further information about managing young workers is available at www.worksafe.qld.gov.au or by calling the Workplace Health and Safety Infoline on 1300 369 915.