Young workers: information for employees

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

Unsafe is always unacceptable.


Know your rights

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

'Reasonably practicable' simply means doing everything that is reasonably possible. It’s what a reasonable person in the same position would do.

As a part of this duty, employers must give you the information, instruction, training and supervision needed to allow you to do your job safely.

If you’re unsure about who your employer is and if they are meeting their duties to provide a safe work environment for you, ask your supervisor or manager.

Remember, if you feel uncomfortable at work, it could be a sign that your workplace is unsafe.

How to identify unsafe work conditions

Unsafe work conditions are practices or hazards that can be a risk to your mental or physical health.

These may include:

  • not getting a job induction when you start work
  • not being shown how to do a task safely, or not being properly supervised
  • not being given suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job
  • not having the right fall protection systems when you are working at height
  • physical hazards like slippery floors, falling objects, unguarded machinery, heavy lifting or work with repetitive actions
  • exposure to bullying, sexual harassment, customer or colleague violence or aggression

If you are working in unsafe conditions, it is important that you speak up and report it.

Reporting unsafe work and work-related injuries

Know your rights and speak up when something is not right. It could save you a lot of problems later on.

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Firstly, you should report unsafe work or work-related injuries to your manager, supervisor, employer or Health and Safety Representative (HSR), if you have one.

If you can't do this, or you’re still worried after telling your employer or HSR about the issue, there are some places that can help you.

Knowing who to call depends on what issue you want to talk about.

WorkSafe Victoria

WorkSafe can help you with issues to do with workplace health and safety in Victoria.  We can answer general questions and give workers advice about their rights.

This includes what to do if someone has been injured, physically or mentally.

If you need to contact us, go to our advisory page to find our contact details.

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

Unlike WorkSafe, the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) can help you with things to do with your pay, including minimum wage and superannuation.

The Commission can also help you work through bullying claims.

Call the Commission on 1300 799 675.

Note: The Fair Work Commission is different from the Fair Work Ombudsman. 

Wage Inspectorate Victoria

The Wage Inspectorate enforces Victoria’s wage theft laws. These laws make it a crime for your boss to unfairly underpay you or hold back your entitlements, such as superannuation, pay or leave days.

The Wage Inspectorate can help if you think you're a victim of wage theft.

 If you're under 15, your employer needs a permit before you can work for them. The Wage inspectorate can also help with information about child employment permits.

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 help to sort out a workplace issue.

Contact the Young Workers Centre by calling 1800 714 754.

Workmates, parents, teachers and other people can also make a report on your behalf

A third party can also make a report to these organisations, on your behalf. They must talk to you first and you need to agree on the next steps before they make the report.

It is important that you agree to, and control, the actions the third party takes on your behalf.

This includes agreeing to report an incident, overseeing the process, and being told of the outcome.

Both WorkSafe and the Commission will need to contact you to pursue the matter.

Third parties can contact WorkSafe or the Commission to talk about the process for reporting unsafe work environments or work-related injuries and what we do after a report is made, without giving any details of a specific incident.

Health and safety responsibilities of employees

Your legal responsibilities as an employee include:

  • taking reasonable care for your own health and safety and for others in the workplace  who may be affected by your actions
  • co-operating with your employer on any action they take to follow the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 or the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017
  • not intentionally or recklessly interfering with or misusing anything (including 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 there is an immediate risk of harm to you or someone else, please contact emergency services on 000.

For 24-hour, 7-days telephone mental health support call:

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

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