Talking to young workers about health and safety

Young workers are more likely to value their health and safety when the people closest to them do.

It's important to talk to young workers about health and safety

Research shows that young workers are more likely to value their health and safety if their family, friends, teachers, co-workers and employers promote and encourage positive health and safety attitudes and behaviours.

Support young workers to identify unsafe work

Talk openly with young workers about unsafe work conditions, and how to identify workplace practices and hazards that could put them and others at risk, for example:

  • not getting a job induction when they start work
  • not being shown how to do a task, or not being properly supervised
  • not being given suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job
  • not having the right falls protection systems when working at height
  • physical hazards such as slippery floors, falling objects, unguarded machinery, heavy lifting or work with repetitive actions
  • hazards to their mental health such as exposure to bullying, sexual harassment or work-related fatigue

Having conversations about unsafe work can help young workers better understand how it can lead to injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the workplace.

Empower young workers to make a report at work

Employers should show workers how to report unsafe work and work-related injuries or illnesses as a part of their induction and training. When a young worker starts a new job, check-in with them to make sure this has happened.

Let young workers know that they can report unsafe work and work-related injuries and illnesses to their manager, supervisor, employer and/or Health and Safety Representative (HSR). By law, employers 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 they can take to protect themselves and others.

You can always contact WorkSafe

If you or your young worker are concerned about health and safety issues not being addressed in the workplace, you can contact WorkSafe. WorkSafe's advisory service can provide information, support or advice.

If you or your young worker are concerned about health and safety issues not being addressed in the workplace, you can contact WorkSafe. For information, support or advice you can contact the WorkSafe Victoria advisory service.]

Unsafe is always unacceptable

Support young workers to make a claim

If a young worker is harmed at work they may be eligible for compensation. WorkSafe Victoria provides compensation to workers for work-related injuries or illnesses.

How employees including young workers can make a claim:

  1. Seek immediate medical attention if needed.
  2. Tell their employer as soon as possible so they can record the injury. They should give them a copy of the injury report form.
  3. See a doctor and get a certificate of capacity. A certificate of capacity is an official document that describes the injury or illness and any limitations they may have to in performing their regular work tasks.
  4. Complete the worker's injury claim form and provide both documents to their employer.

Employers must acknowledge in writing that they have received the claim form. Encourage young workers to keep a copy of all documents for their records.

The employer will then complete the employer’s claim report and send all completed documents to the WorkSafe agent.

The WorkSafe agent will assess the claim. If the claim is accepted they will work out what payments the young worker will receive for medical treatment and/or time off work.

Young workers might need your support to make a claim. Check-in and see how they are progressing and if they have any questions about the process.