WorkSafe Victoria have launched a graphic new campaign aimed at Generation Y, their families and employers in a bid to reduce the rate of young workers ending up in the emergency ward at Victorian hospitals as a result of workplace injuries.
WorkSafe Victoria’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, John Merritt, said that despite Victoria having a good workplace safety record in Australia, figures show that the likelihood of younger workers admitted to hospital emergency departments compared to their older counterparts is close to double.
Merritt said that the research conducted by WorkSafe Victoria, ABS and DHS shows the following facts:
In the last five years 15 young workers (aged 15 -24) had been killed at work.
Young males under 24 have the second highest rate of injuries all age groups by gender, only second to males aged 45 to 54.
Although females have lower rates of injury compared to males, young females (24 and under) have the highest.
Young males (aged 15 to 19) in regional Victoria are four times more likely to be hospitalised compared to workers of the same age and gender in the city.
Younger workers have a lower rate of claiming workers compensation, but it is believed that the figure is under-represented.
New research conducted by WorkSafe Victoria involving 1600 young workers also found that younger workers are less likely to be consulted on safety in the workplace, do not have the confidence to raise issues, may not understand or know their rights and alarmingly do not consider workplace safety as important as road or public safety.
Merritt said that many Victorian employers had good systems in place to ensure that young workers’ first experience in the workforce was a good one but many others did not.
Merritt suggests the employers to provide a good induction process, proper training, and supervision and to make sure that their young workers understand the safety policies and procedures.
Just as importantly Merritt want young workers to speak up if they are unsure about work practices which might be hazardous as well as listening to their supervisor and not misusing or abusing workplace equipment.
Any employer needing help in making their workplace safer for young workers should contact their local WorkSafe office or visit the WorkSafe website.
ABS statistics show that most young workers in Victoria are concentrated in a few industries including Retail, Construction and manufacturing for men of 15 to 24 years of age and Retail, hospitality and health and community services for women of 15 to 24 years of age.
The new campaign features young workers in a variety of occupations sustaining traumatic injuries that have been based on real accidents investigated by WorkSafe Victoria.
WorkSafe Victoria will also be commencing an enforcement campaign involving inspections to industries with a high concentration of young workers including retail, hospitality, construction and manufacturing across the state.