Keeping young people safe from workplace injuries was the focus of a WorkCover NSW sponsored forum held at Parliament House today. More than 60 young people from across the state attended the first ever Youth Workplace Safety Issues Forum to share their views about attitudes to safety and injury prevention.
The General Manager of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division, John Watson, said workers under 25 years of age may be more vulnerable to workplace safety risks because of their inexperience and reluctance to speak up about safety concerns.
“Around 12% of all employment injuries and occupational diseases occur among the state’s 572,000 young workers,” Watson said.
Young people face a range of challenges when they start their working lives and can be complacent about workplace safety.
“We want to help young people build positive, robust safety cultures in their workplaces by raising awareness of hazards.
“WorkCover NSW will listen to what young workers have to say about the risks they have experienced, which will help us to better understand the barriers they face in staying safe at work.”
Young people working in manufacturing, construction, retail and hospitality participated in the event, sharing their views on workplace safety issues and how safety can be improved in their workplaces. Issues such as manual handling, bullying, and slips, trips and falls were explored by a five-person panel and TV personality and facilitator James Mathison.
“It is important for both young people and their employers to work together to reduce the risk of injuries and think about ways to improve safety,” Watson said.
“Businesses should ensure appropriate systems are in place for their workers, including sufficient training and support, so they can undertake their work safely and young workers should follow their employers safety policies.
“Workers should also follow their employer’s safety policies and speak up or ask questions if they feel a work practice is unsafe or dangerous.”