Cross-border safety program to focus on young workers

Media Release | 04/09/2017

WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW will focus on young workers when they team up in Yarrawonga – Mulwala this week as part of this year’s Cross Border Construction Program.

The program, which will run until September 8, will see groups of inspectors from the two regulators visit construction sites on both sides of the border to promote strategies to reduce the risk of young workers being hurt.

They will also discuss the similarities between the Victorian and NSW work health and safety regulations and address any perceived differences that employers and workers may have observed.

WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director of Health & Safety Marnie Williams said that 538 young construction workers were injured in the state during 2016, more than in any other industry.

“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,” Ms Williams said.

“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, 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,” Mr Williams 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.

Ms Williams said Worksafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW had worked closely in recent years to ensure regulations were as consistent across the two states as possible.

For further information on young worker safety visit www.worksafe.vic.gov.au or www.safework.nsw.gov.au

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