Young workers: Speaking up

Speaking up about safety at work can help protect you and your workmates.

Speak up and say no to unsafe work

If you are asked to do something that you think may be unsafe, it's okay to say no and refuse unsafe work.

You have the right to be safe at work. Your employer has a legal responsibility to keep you safe at work.

Belinda talks about speaking up and saying no to unsafe work

Speaking up can include:

  • pointing out hazards to your employer or asking "Is that safe?"
  • asking for help or supervision with a task you're unfamiliar with
  • asking about safety equipment or PPE
  • asking about emergency policies
  • reporting unsafe conditions at work

You can speak up to your employer, health and safety representative (HSR), co-worker, friend or family member.

See our young worker case studies for more examples of speaking up at work.

Identifying unsafe conditions

Unsafe working conditions are practices or hazards that can put you in danger, both mentally and physically. For example:

  • Starting a job without enough training or without a job induction. An induction should be provided at the start of your employment and can include information about your employer, such as systems that are used, company values, codes of conduct and any emergency policies or procedures.
  • Not being shown how to do a task safely.
  • Not being properly supervised.
  • Not being given correct personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job.
  • Physical hazards such as slippery floors, falling objects, unguarded machinery, heavy lifting or work with repetitive actions.
  • Hazards to your mental health, such as exposure to bullying, sexual harassment, work-related violence or aggression, customer abuse or work-related fatigue.

If you find yourself working in unsafe conditions, it's important that you speak up and report it.

Tom talks about identifying unsafe conditions and speaking up

Making a report at work

Your employer needs to show you how to report unsafe work and work-related injuries or illnesses as part of your induction and training.

Report unsafe work and work-related injuries and illnesses to your manager, supervisor, employer or HSR. By law, your employer must work with employees, including HSRs, to address the issues they raise.

Reporting incidents, hazards and near misses, no matter how small, is an important action that you can take to protect yourself and others.

If you are injured at work, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

Your employer must have a register of reportable injuries available.

You have the right to enter details of an injury in the register of injuries. Depending on the injury, you may be eligible for workers compensation.

Information on how to make a claim is available on the WorkSafe website.

You can always contact WorkSafe

If you are having trouble reporting a problem at work, or are still concerned after raising the issue with your employer or HSR, you can always contact WorkSafe and even report the matter anonymously.