Young workers: information for employees

You have the right to a safe working environment. If you're feeling unsure or uncomfortable at work, read below to find out about your rights, responsibilities and support services available to help you.

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Know your rights

Under Victoria's health and safety laws, employers must provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and free of risks to health, so far as is reasonably practicable.

As a part of this duty, employers must provide the necessary information, instruction, and training and supervision to enable you to do your job safely. An employer can be different roles, in different business. For example, it might a team leader, a manager, the business owner, CEO or even Human Resources (HR) - it's anyone involved in the management of your role.

How to identify unsafe work conditions

Unsafe conditions are practices or hazards that can put you in danger both mentally and physically.

These may include

  • not getting a job induction when you 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 you’re working at height
  • physical hazards such as slippery floors, falling objects, unguarded machinery, heavy lifting or work with repetitive actions
  • exposure to bullying, sexual harassment, customer or colleague violence and aggression

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

Reporting unsafe work and work-related injuries

In the first instance, you should report unsafe working and work-related injuries to your manager, supervisor, employer of Health and Safety Representative (HSR) if you have one.

If you are having trouble reporting a problem at work, or are still concerned after raising the issue with your employer or HSR, there are a number of organisations who are ready and waiting to help you. Knowing who to call just depends on what issue you want to discuss.

WorkSafe

WorkSafe Victoria can help you for all matters related to workplace health and safety, answering general enquiries and offering advice to workers of their WorkSafe rights, including what to do in the case of physical or mental injuries.

WorkSafe Advisory Service

WorkSafe's advisory service is available between 7:30am and 6:30pm Monday to Friday. If you need more support, you can also contact WorkSafe using the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) or the National Relay Service.

1800 136 089 More contact options

Fair Work Commission

The Commission is Australia's national workplace relations tribunal. Unlike WorkSafe Victoria, the Commission can help you with matters related to your pay including minimum wage and superannuation for example. Just like WorkSafe Victoria though, the Commission can also help you to respond to claims of bullying. Call Fair Work Commission on 1300 799 675.

Wage Inspectorate Victoria

The Wage Inspectorate enforces Victoria's wage theft laws, which make it a crime for your boss to dishonestly underpay you or withhold your entitlements. The Wage Inspectorate can help if you think you're a victim of wage theft.

They can also help with information about child employment permits. If you're under 15, your boss will need to apply for a permit before you can work for them.

Contact the Wage Inspectorate on 1800 287 287.

The Young Workers Centre (Victorian Trades Hall Council)

The Young Workers Centre can help you learn more about your rights at work or provide assistance to resolve workplace issues. Contact the Young Workers Centre by calling 1800 714 754.

Workmates, parents, teachers and other third parties can also make a report on someone else's behalf

Third parties can also make a report to the above organisations, but they must consult with the person affected and agree on next steps before they do so.

It is important that the person affected is in agreement with, and has control over actions the third party is taking on their behalf. This includes agreeing on any action taken to report an incident, as well as having oversight of the process, and being informed of the response to a report.

Both WorkSafe Victoria and the Fair Work Commission will need to make contact directly with the person affected in order to pursue the matter. Third parties can contact the above organisations to have a discussion about the process for reporting and responding to sexual harassment, without providing any details of the specific incident.

As an employee, you have health and safety responsibilities too

Your legal responsibilities as an employee include:

  • take reasonable care for your own health and safety in the workplace, and for the health and safety of others who may be affected by your actions
  • co-operate with your employer about any action they take to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 or Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017
  • do not intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse any equipment or tools provided at the workplace to support health, safety and welfare

Do you need immediate help?

Allegations of assault, damage to property, sexual assault and stalking should be referred to the police

If you, or someone else, is at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000.

For 24-hour 7-day telephone mental health support call:

For 24-hour 7-day online mental health support.

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