Children face many hazards in the workplace

Monday, 13 January, 2020

Children face many hazards in the workplace

WorkSafe WA has reminded employers to take steps to keep children away from hazardous workplaces, as many workplaces contain hazards that could result in injury and potentially death. The reminder is especially timely as children and young people often end up in workplaces during school holidays, whether through necessity or as a ‘treat’.

“Workplaces such as factories and construction sites are not suitable locations for children and, sadly, many children have been seriously injured or killed in workplaces such as these over the years. Employers need to give careful consideration to where children are permitted to go in workplaces,” said Darren Kavanagh, WorkSafe WA Commissioner.

Oftentimes there are situations where the child’s home doubles as a workplace; in such instances, employers are urged to take care and be aware of children being in work areas they would not normally be in, because they are in school.

“Many children do not have the maturity or experience to understand hazards and their potential consequences, and some workplaces can present hazards of which even adults may not be aware. Farms are often simultaneously homes and workplaces, and include multiple hazards from fixed and mobile machinery to chemicals and other hazardous substances,” said Kavanagh.

Employers should also consider fencing construction sites as they present a number of risks to children: from trip hazards, to the risk of injury from building rubble, to the risk of falls from height. Parents may not be able to identify the potential hazards facing children and are urged to avoid taking children with them to work, unless there are appropriate facilities for them.

Further information about children and young people in workplaces can be obtained by contacting WorkSafe on 1300 307 877 or through the WorkSafe website.

Image credit: © Sbytova

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