Young Workers Vulnerable to Workplace Injuries

Young Workers Vulnerable to Workplace Injuries

Young workers are particularly vulnerable to workplace injuries and employers should prioritise safety discussions and training to reduce their risk of injury.

That’s the message from WorkSafe Victoria which has released new statistics revealing 49 young people aged 15-24 were injured every week in 2015/16.

The statistics, which were from April 2015 to March 2016, also revealed:

  • Young workers in construction, retail, manufacturing and hospitality suffered the most injuries
  • Poor manual handling was the cause of most injuries
  • Hand, finger and back injuries were the most common type of injury.

The new statistics have been released to support a major social media campaign which features simulated CCTV footage of young workers in construction, retail, manufacturing and hospitality about to make potentially catastrophic workplace safety decisions.

Targeting this group through the channels that they use is an important part of this campaign as it’s critical that they get this message – if something looks unsafe or you’re not sure, it is absolutely OK to speak up.

WorkSafe’s Executive Director Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, said it was vital employers provided adequate training, support and information to young workers.

“While the overall number of injuries to young workers has continued to decline over the past six years, it’s absolutely critical that employers are providing appropriate training, information and advice,” Ms Williams said.

“Employers must take time to educate their young workers of the potential risks involved in completing certain tasks, and how to control or eliminate those risks. Teaching young workers how to properly operate machinery and equipment is also vital.”

Ms Williams said young workers were often oblivious to the long-term implications of a workplace injury.

“Injuries such as pulled muscles, twisted knees and bad backs caused by poor manual handling and repetitive lifting and stacking are common injuries among young people and the effects can last a lifetime,” Ms Williams said.

“Our message to every employer is that it is your responsibility to ensure you are providing appropriate training and guidance to young workers.”


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