Provide a detailed explanation of the task.
Good leadership helps protect young workers from illness and injury.
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Young workers bring a range of benefits to workplaces, including:
Young workers are also more likely to be injured because they are often new to a job and may be inexperienced.
Did you know young workers have the highest chance of being injured in the first 6 months of starting a new job?
Young workers are a diverse group of people who may react and behave differently to more experienced employees in the same situations. They often look to peers to reassure them and are less likely to ask questions for fear of negative consequences. This is where you can help them.
Understanding the unique risks to young workers is important to help them stay safe at work.
When young workers know that health and safety is important in the workplace, they are more likely to follow safety procedures, raise issues and promote a culture that keeps everyone safe. Young workers look to leaders and co-workers to better understand workplace health and safety culture.
The term ‘safety culture’ means the set of positive occupational health and safety (OHS) values, beliefs and views that employers and employees share and demonstrate in the workplace.
To support young workers in the workplace, it is important that your workplace’s safety culture promotes ensuring safety, reducing risks and talking openly about hazards.
A positive workplace safety culture makes workers feel safer, increases productivity and lowers staff turnover.
Safety culture starts with leaders who value and model safe behaviour at work. Leaders can do this by:
Under Victoria's OHS laws, you must provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and free of risks to health, so far as is reasonably practicable.
Learn more about your duties under the OHS Act 2004 and OHS Regulations 2017.
The information below describes steps you can take to meet your legal duties and keep young workers safe. This is not a comprehensive list, but it can help you to understand how young workers are different to other, more experienced employees.
All employees require a proper induction.
Young workers are often inexperienced and may need more information than other employees.
Key parts of a health and safety induction for young workers should include:
Young workers may need extra instruction and training because they are newer to the workforce. Be aware that they may not ask for this, so you need to make sure young workers understand how to do their job or use equipment safely.
You may also need to consider young workers' skill or experience when designing and reviewing systems of work, to ensure their safety.
Use the 'Tell me, Show me, Watch me' approach when doing task-specific instruction and training with young workers. This approach has 3 steps:
Provide a detailed explanation of the task.
Demonstrate the task.
Observe the young worker performing the task.
Explain the task to the young worker clearly and in detail, highlight key elements and outline the procedure. Explain why safety procedures or steps are important to prevent injury.
Demonstrate the task while the young worker watches you, explain key elements and ask the young worker questions to check that they understand. Show them why safety mechanisms are important and how they work to prevent injury.
Watch the young worker doing the task and give them clear and useful feedback to support them to do it safely. Ask them why the safety steps are important, to link back to the safety procedure.
New jobs can be overwhelming, so give young workers plenty of chances to ask questions and take the time to listen and repeat information if you need to.
You must provide young workers with the equipment needed to do their job safely and show them how to wear or use PPE (if relevant).
Explain why they need PPE for the task, how it will prevent injuries and the type of injuries that can occur if they don’t use PPE correctly or at all. Ensure that young workers understand why PPE is important.
It’s especially important to check that all employees are using PPE when a new worker starts at the workplace. This will support the young worker’s confidence to always use their PPE.
Good relationships between supervisors and their young workers can lower the risk of workplace injuries. Young workers often worry about losing shifts or their job if they raise health and safety concerns. Modelling positive working relationships, giving useful feedback, and encouraging questions supports a culture of safety and can empower young workers to speak up. It also encourages young workers to do their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health.
You must include young workers in consultation about OHS matters, such as workplace hazards and control measures.
You should encourage young workers to take part in the consultation process. For example, you could set up daily stand-up meetings with young workers at the start of shifts to discuss safety issues, encourage open discussion and build team rapport.
Ensure that HSRs are included as part of the health and safety culture in the workplace.