As a young worker (aged 15-24) you are likely to have limited work experience and may still be developing and maturing.
Without sufficient training, workplace induction and a clear understanding of their capabilities, they could be at risk of being seriously injured at work.
Who are young workers?
Young workers include the following:
- students leaving school and entering full-time employment for the first time, including apprentices and trainees
- young people engaged in part-time or casual employment
- young people who work but are not paid for the work done, such as unpaid work done for a family business (excluding domestic chores)
- work experience students and vocational education and training students attached to the education and training system.
Am I at risk of a workplace injury?
All workplaces have some risks; the number and type of risks vary depending on the type of workplace, the type of work being carried out, the equipment being used and lots of other factors.
You will often be at risk of an injury or illness at work, however almost all workplace risks can be managed.
Young workers should be extra alert during work experience opportunities during their first few months of work, until they are more experienced in the tasks they perform. Statistics show that you are much more likely to be injured on your first day of work and in the first few months at a new job than if you've been doing that job for a while.
What should I do to make my workplace safer?
Young workers are encouraged to do four things:
- ask questions
- get training
- wear personal protective equipment (PPE)
- refuse unsafe work.
Who do I ask about health and safety at work?
Start with your boss or supervisor - keeping you safe is part of their job. Then try your safety representative, human resources officer, union representative, parents, apprenticeship coordinator, teacher, or Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
What do I need to ask about?
Anything that could affect your health and safety at work, like:
- What could hurt me? (e.g. What are the actual hazards and risks with this job?)
- How can I work safely? (e.g. wearing PPE, following directions, not entering barred areas)
- Will I receive training?
- What emergency procedures are there?
- Do I need personal protective equipment (PPE)?
- Who do I ask if I have a question or problem?
- How do I report a hazard or an injury?
- What do I do if I get hurt?
- What are my health and safety responsibilities?
When do I need to ask about my health and safety?
- When you start a new job.
- Before you do a new task.
- When there is a change to your workplace, like new conditions, new systems of work and new equipment.
- When you're confused.
- When you spot something dangerous or something that could be dangerous (a hazard or risk).
Risks are real. If you're concerned about your safety always ask before you do something first. Asking the question face-to-face is always the best option to receive accurate information or demonstrations.
If you're still not sure, then try some of these questions:
- Could you please repeat that for me?
- Could you slow down a bit when you explain how to do that? I want to make sure I know how to do it right.
- I'm not sure how this works, could you spare a few minutes to show me again?
- I think I've got the hang of this, but can you watch to make sure I'm doing everything right?
- I really want to make sure I do this job right. What should I know about doing it safely?
- I need some training to do this job. Any suggestions?
- I'm still a bit uncomfortable with this, would you mind explaining it / showing me again?
Can I help promote workplace safety?
Be serious about workplace health and safety. Someone's life could be at stake.
Raise awareness of workplace health and safety amongst other young workers.
Acknowledge that asking questions about workplace health and safety is a good thing to do for everyone
Look after yourself and others by:
- being aware of the risks at your workplace and asking questions if you are not sure how to do a particular job
- knowing the safety procedures you need to follow
- reporting any workplace health and safety hazards (if you are not comfortable raising your concerns with your boss talk to your health and safety representative, an experienced mate, a family member or friend).
Starting a new job?
Every time you start a new job make sure you receive information and training regarding workplace health and safety.
Have you received induction training?
- Have you been shown around the workplace and introduced to key people (e.g. supervisor/manager, health and safety representative)?
- Do you know what your duties and responsibilities are?
- Have you been provided with information and training on hazards and risks specific to your job?
- Do you now about safe work procedures (e.g. operation of machinery and equipment, hazardous chemicals)?
- Have you been informed about a bullying (harassment) policy?
- Do you know how to report injuries and hazards (e.g. faulty machinery)?
- Do you know the emergency evacuation procedures?
- Do you know the location of the first aid facilities and equipment?
- Have you had the opportunity to ask questions?