UMM inspires young people to stay safe at work

What's tall, orange, furry and back to spread the word on safety for young workers? …UMM…

UMM character working in construction

Named for the expression that comes to mind when we're unsure of what to say or do, the quirky character features in a new series of WorkSafe videos, social media, regional press and digital communications.

The videos include UMM responding to a range of common unsafe scenarios young workers may face in retail, manufacturing, fast food, hospitality, health care and construction.

Since the start of last year, 3,501 workers under the age of 25 have been seriously injured at work in Victoria.

WorkSafe Executive Director Health and Safety Narelle Beer said the UMM character was created by young people, for young people, and speaks to those who might have recently started their first part-time or full-time jobs.

"We all know what a great asset young workers can be, but sometimes the enthusiasm and energy they can bring to a role may mean they are less likely to ask questions if something doesn’t seem right," Dr Beer said.

"No one should ever be made to feel unsafe at work – whether it's being asked to work without the right safety equipment, aggressive behaviour or language, or having someone get too close for comfort – UMM is here to remind young workers that it's ok to speak up."

Of the young workers injured since January 2023, about a quarter were working in in the construction industry, and one in 10 were from each of the manufacturing, health care and social assistance, and accommodation and food services industries.

The most common causes of injuries to young workers were being hit by moving objects (31 per cent), body stress (26 per cent), and falls, trips and slips (23 per cent). About seven per cent of claims were for mental injury.

UMM's return builds on the success of the first campaign, launched in 2022, and will last until mid-June.

The campaign will be supported by WorkSafe visits to TAFEs across regional and metropolitan Victoria to help get the message to young trade apprentices and pre-apprenticeship students.