Young worker safety program aims to reduce construction injuries

Friday, 08 September, 2017

Young workers will be the focus of a cross-border safety program being run by WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW.

The Cross Border Construction Program will see inspectors from both organisations visiting construction sites, to promote strategies that will reduce the risk of young workers being hurt.

There were 538 young construction workers that were injured during 2016, a figure which is higher than any other industry.

Safety inspectors in the program will discuss with workers the similarities between the Victorian and NSW work health and safety regulations, and address any perceived differences that employers and workers may have observed.

“Workers aged 15–24 are vulnerable. They often lack experience, are still developing physically and mentally, are eager to make a good impression and can be reluctant to ask questions,” said WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director of Health and Safety Marnie Williams.

“Employers need to ensure their young workers not only receive the correct training and supervision, but are empowered to speak up. For young workers our message is that if you are not sure about something, stop and ask.”

SafeWork NSW Group Director of Regional and Response Operations Tony Williams said with many students leaving school in a few months, it was timely to reinforce the importance of young worker safety.

“Thousands of young workers are about to enter the region’s workplaces, with many commencing a building apprenticeship, so it’s imperative that we remind construction companies about the work health and safety risks that must be considered when employing young workers,” he said.

The Cross Border Construction Program commenced in 2013 and visits regional centres along the Victoria–NSW border each year to raise the profile of construction health and safety issues and build relations between both regulators and the local industry.

WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW have worked closely in recent years to ensure regulations are as consistent across the two states as possible.

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