At risk workers

At risk workers are people who could be at a greater risk of injury or illness while on the job.

Although, at risk workers can generally do the job, they might just need extra consideration of their personal situation when managing any potential risk to their safety.

Examples of at risk workers

Young workers

They can be inexperienced, lack insight to recognise safety risks and not willing to speak up.

Information about mental health in young workers can be found in our young workers and mental health flyer.

New workers, apprentices and trainees, and contractors

They might not be familiar with the workplace, or aware of the systems in place to keep them and others safe.

Workers with low literacy skills, or migrant or culturally and linguistically diverse workers

If staff can't read or write properly, it can affect their ability to understand and follow instructions, exposing them to greater risk.

Workers with a disability

They may require adjustments or modifications that foster an inclusive workplace and help them work safely.

New/expectant mums

They can be more prone to health-related risks, like colds and flues, or sensitive to the effects of biological agents or chemicals like, air fresheners or fertilizers.

Employer responsibilities

If you're an employer you must provide:

  • a safe and healthy workplace
  • safe equipment, structures, and systems of work
  • adequate workplace amenities and facilities
  • information, training and supervision
  • the opportunity for you to talk about work health and safety

Worker responsibilities

If you're a worker you are required to take reasonable care of yourself, and not do anything that would affect the health and safety of others at work.

You must follow any reasonable health and safety instructions from your employer. It is important that you:

  • ask if you are not sure how to safely perform the work
  • follow instructions and work safely
  • report unsafe and unhealthy situations and injuries to your immediate supervisor

Further information

To understand your legal obligations, check out simple safety — we have summarised them in simple, plain English.

We have a your rights at work fact sheet which explains the basic responsibilities of the worker and the employer. We also have this fact sheet in other languages.

Other sources of information