Young workers (15-24) can be frustrating!
Young workers make up about 19 per cent of the Queensland workforce across all industries, but they have the highest rate of injury compared to other age groups.
They have a unique risk profile because they are more likely to be:
- Still developing intellectually, socially and physically
- Not experienced enough to notice when a situation becomes risky
- Less likely to ask questions or raise safety concerns
- Influenced by the behaviour of their workmates – whether that behaviour is right or wrong
Just simply telling a young worker what the rules are and asking them to speak up if they have concerns is often not effective.
We need to consider how well we manage the safety of young workers by ensuring effective induction and training, providing appropriate supervision and feedback, and using support and mentoring to develop their skills and attitudes.
Young workers are injured more frequently in the construction industry than older age groups. Around 700 young workers in construction are seriously injured each year. That’s an injury that keeps them off work for at least five days and could affect their ability to work for the rest of their life.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has produced a new film titled ‘The right start: Building safe work for young workers’ for supervisors and managers to highlight key considerations for keeping young people safe at work in the construction industry.
The film follows two young construction workers throughout their work days to demonstrate how important the role of supervisors and managers are in designing good work practices and keeping young workers safe. The scenarios highlight the difference between effective and ineffective work design, by providing:
- Induction and training
- Supervision and feedback
- Support and mentoring
Bottom-line young workers are here to stay and it is up to each of us to integrate them into our workplaces.