At risk workers' strategy 2018-22

SafeWork NSW’s At risk workers’ strategy 2018–2022 supports and protects the four identified key groups of workers that are deemed to be most at risk of harm in the workplace:

CALD workers

People who have different linguistic, religious and ancestral backgrounds.

Migrant workers

People who have moved to Australia to take up work, or study or holiday, with legal authorisation to work. These workers don’t have permanent resident status in Australia

Labour hire workers

People employed by a labour hire company and then undertake specific duties for another company (the host) for a defined period of time.

Young workers

Approximately 17 per cent of NSW workers are aged up to 25 years. Of these, 13233 claimed a temporary disability and 3 a permanent disability in 2015-16, and 6 were fatally injured in 2017.

These worker groups are typically found in sectors such as construction, agriculture, manufacturing, accommodation and food services, retail, government, and health care and social assistance.

Identifying priority issues – how we know this

  • We visited you on site as you worked
  • We talked to over 550 individuals and organisations
  • We researched data and trends

During 2017, we worked with key community groups, industry representatives and stakeholders to develop the strategy including workers, business operators, the Australian Border Force, Multicultural NSW, the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Office of the Small Business Commissioner, Youthsafe, non-government organisations, unions, educational institutions and Fair Trading NSW.

Forums have also been held with experts, industry representatives, community groups and advocates for these four at risk groups.

Consultation will continue with stakeholders in the future.

Although the data is limited, SafeWork NSW also sourced qualitative national and international data to inform prioritisation decisions and the development of initiatives.

Prioritised risk factors

The data obtained, research and the insights gained from consultation and forums has enabled us to identify the risk factors for each of the four at risk worker groups and identify the baseline to track progress.

We will address these risk factors on a prioritised basis through to 2022, with an annual review of all issues, in consultation with stakeholders. SafeWork NSW will also review future reporting and system requirements for incidents involving at risk workers.

Decorative diagram illustrating multiple risk factors

Prioritised risk factors 2018-2022
At risk group

Highest risk factor

2nd factor

3rd factor

4th factor

5th factor

6th factor

Young workers

Inadequate supervision and training

Limited understanding of work health and safety rights and worker obligations

Inexperience in the job and/or at the individual workplace

High incidence of mental health issues

Being bullied or facing peer pressure

Reluctance to speak up and ‘make waves’ due to multiple factors

CALD workers

Language barriers hinder understanding of work health and safety rights and worker obligations

Language and literacy barriers to accessing safety information

Reluctance to speak up and ‘make waves’ due to multiple factors

Limited understanding of safe work practices

Inexperience in the job and/or at the individual workplace

Fear of authority due to cultural factors

Migrant workers

Language barriers hinder understanding of work health safety rights and obligations

Fear of losing job or visa sponsorship

Poor understanding of safe work practices

Reluctance to speak up and ‘make waves’ due to multiple factors

Inexperience in the job and/or at the individual workplace

Language and literacy barriers to accessing safety information, including accessing regulatory advice lines to report issues anonymously or using own name

Labour hire workers

Commonly assigned higher risk work

Limited understanding work health and safety rights and obligations as a worker

Lack of communication, consultation and coordination between the labour hire organisation and the host employer

Inexperience in the job and/or at the individual workplace

Labour hire company not conducting pre-work site visits

Reluctance to speak up and ‘make waves’ due to multiple factors

Delivery through partnerships

This strategy will be delivered through the cooperation of all partners and a focus on the value that diversity provides.

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