Research from Safe Work Australia in 2013 found employees under the age of 25 account for approximately one-fifth of all work-related injuries. Additionally, younger workers are 18 per cent more likely than those over 25 to sustain an injury in the workplace.
Safe Work Australia chair Ann Sherry explained that young people can require different safety monitoring than other workers, as they need more prompting to understand the value of following safety procedures.
“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.
While school-based apprenticeships and traineeships are a great way to encourage youth employment, it is important to ensure these individuals are protected in the workplace to promote retention and continued labour force contributions.
Fortunately, it is not difficult to increase safety and minimise the risk of accidents among young workers. Due to their current educational environment, school-based apprentices and trainees are typically able to absorb and learn the required information quickly and efficiently.
“The safety habits and behaviours they learn now will set them up for positive safe work practices for the remainder of their working lives,” Ms Sherry expressed.
Perhaps the most important step to mitigating injuries and accidents in the workplace is to ensure all individuals are adequately trained on the tools they are expected to use. Misuse of equipment is one of the leading causes of workplace injuries, so only trained and qualified workers should be allowed to work with dangerous tools.
This is vital for all workers, regardless of their age. It is crucial that supervision is given to any employee using a tool for the first time and employers should encourage these individuals to only use equipment they are comfortable with.
Another important factor in supporting the health and safety of young workers in Queensland is to allow these individuals to ask questions. By offering the right guidance and apprentice support, a young trainee could become a valuable long-term employee with your company. For more information on school-based apprentices, get in touch with the BUSY At Work team today.
By Leanne de Toerkenczy, Public Relations Coordinator