Young workers need more support and supervision at work to ensure they are carrying out their tasks safely. Everything is new and they may not speak up if they need help.
If you, manage or supervise a young worker, you have a legal obligation under work health and safety laws to protect them from incidents.
This page contains a range of information to help you understand your obligations and how to support young workers to stay healthy and safe at work.
This 30- 40 minute presentation (excluding discussion time) is designed to be delivered to groups of supervisors, managers or business owners who supervise young workers.
It was developed in consultation with industry stakeholders who have worked in collaboration with SafeWork NSW to help and support young people at work.
It was developed in consultation with industry stakeholders who have worked in collaboration with SafeWork NSW to help and support young people.
Supervisors and managers have a better understanding of:
- their legal obligations under work health and safety laws
- how to support young workers so they stay healthy and safe at work
- Where you can go to get more information and help.
Key messages to reinforce with supervisors, managers or business owners:
- You have a legal duty to manage the work health and safety of workers
- Young workers need support so they stay healthy and safe at work
- Promote ‘Wait, take five, to young workers:
Wait, take 5:
1. Stop and think
2. Is it safe?
3. Could it hurt someone?
4. If so, speak up
5. Ask for help
Links to YouTube to be provided
We have digital and hardcopy resources that you can distribute to managers or supervisors and managers. To request hard copies, contact (email address to be provided)
- The basics your rights at work
- SafeWork NSW Inspectors
- Report an incident or injury
- bullying, know who to contact
- bullying response service standards
- Consultation – facts sheets
- Helpful services (hard copy only)
- Mental Health Flyer (YouthSafe) (hard copy only)
- Brain development - US fact sheet (hard copy only)
- Children’s safety in the workplace (Safe Work Australia)
- Thoughts about workplace safety (Safe Work Australia)
These case studies have been selected from some of SafeWork NSW prosecutions involving young workers who were injured. This information does not contain or convey legal advice.
Read more SafeWork NSW prosecutions
Tip 1 -
Many young workers are worried that they could be targeted as troublemakers and lose shifts or the jobs entirely for raising health or safety issues in the workplace.
Ensure your young workers are empowered to raise concerns.
Tip 2 -
It’s important to know how to provide feedback, effectively and constructively without causing offence. Effective feedback as that which is clearly heard, understood and accepted.
1. Feedback should be about behaviour not personality
2. Were the actions helpful to outcomes you wanted
3. Feedback should be as specific as possible
4. Feedback should be timely
5. Pick your moment
And remember always close the loop
Tip 3 -
Don’t ask your young worker why they did that, ask what did they do? Or What do you think worked? Under stressful situations emotions maybe heighten.
Tip 4 -
Good leadership can also improve business productivity and is crucial to WHS performance. Leadership - https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/leadership-culture
Speak to young workers regularly. Having a good relationship means you will know what their normal behaviour is and can identify when things have changed.
Tip 6 –
Keep checking in with your young worker. Ask how things are going? Do they need any assistance?
If you are concerned about your young worker, don’t worry if you don’t quite know what to say. Just be supportive and listen. For more conversation tips - https://www.headsup.org.au/supporting-others/starting-a-conversation
Tip 8 –
When your young worker first starts in your organisation it maybe their first job out of training. Consider getting them to ghost (shadow) a experience colleague.