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Explaining the importance of safety to young workers

Explaining the importance of safety to young workers

Stress the importance of workplace safety to your young apprentices and trainees.

If you have young workers employed with you either for school-based apprenticeships or traineeships, then it’s essential to explain the safety processes in your workplace.

A Safe Work Australia report has found that a fifth of all work-related injuries experienced by Australian workers were from those aged 25 and under.

Safe Work Australia chair Ann Sherry said that young people need to learn the value of following safety procedures and understand the different safety issues in the workplace.

“Often in their first jobs, young workers can get caught up with the excitement of entering the workforce. They may overlook the need to be familiar with the potential workplace hazards and safety procedures in place,” Ms Sherry said.

The report, Work-related injuries experienced by young workers 2009-2010, found the injury rate of young workers was 18 per cent higher than those aged over 25.

This translates to an injury rate of 66.1 work-related injuries per 1,000 young workers, next to 56.2 injuries per 1,000 workers aged over 25.

Ms Sherry said that the statistics in the report demonstrate why it is necessary for young people to learn safe workplace practices and who they should go to for help.

“The safety habits and behaviours they learn now will set them up for positive safe work practices for the remainder of their working lives.”

The difference between the injury rates of young workers and those aged over 25 were most apparent in industries such as accommodation and food services, healthcare and social assistance, construction and manufacturing.

When taking on a young apprentice or trainee, safety in the workplace should be one of the first topics you should address.

For many young apprentices, this is their first encounter with a working environment, so the various tools and machinery can pose a high risk for those that have never used them before.

In your first day of work, you will want to explain the essential safety equipment or gear that needs to be used every time they enter the workplace – whether it be gloves, safety goggles or ear plugs.

Also explain why the safety equipment needs to be used and the risks that not wearing it can pose, to really drill home how vital it is to follow safety measures.

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