Young people most at risk in the workplace

SafeWork NSW has released resources to help keep young employees safe in the workplace following a number of incidents and prosecutions for breaching WHS laws.

If you were asked to do something at work that you knew was unsafe, what would you do? While most young people are confident they can handle a situation, the statistics show that young workers are more vulnerable to injury at work.

Between January and March 2019, SafeWork NSW prosecuted eight companies for breaching work health and safety laws. In one case a 25-year-old male sustained serious injuries when he and his co-worker fell 11 storeys from a 12-storey building while cleaning the outside windows. The ropes had failed on the exterior maintenance platform they were working on, and as a result, the business was fined $300,000 for neglecting to maintain their equipment.

SafeWork NSW

Young Workers Stories

Your rights at work

SafeWork NSW director of investigations and emergency response, Rick Bultitude, says he cannot stress enough the importance of young workers being aware of their rights at work. 

‘People get hurt at work for many reasons, but all of them are avoidable,’ Rick says. ‘By law, employers need to ensure the workplace is safe and workers are properly trained for the job. However, knowing how to assess a situation is one thing you can do to avoid leaving work in the back of an ambulance.’  

Five steps to keep you safe

‘Speaking up might be hard but we support you and your right to be safe – you can’t be fired, bullied, intimidated or harassed for doing so,’ Rick says.

SafeWork NSW have suggested these simple steps to keep you safe:

  1. Stop
  2. Is it safe?
  3. Could it hurt someone?
  4. Speak up
  5. Ask

Your safety toolkit

SafeWork NSW offers a Young Workers e-Toolkit outlining your rights and obligations at work.

‘The toolkit is a must-read for every young worker. It provides tips to handle difficult scenarios, real stories from young workers and what sorts of hazards you should report,’ Rick explains. 

The toolkit is not just for workers, if you’re an employer there are a range of resources including presentations, videos and fact sheets that have been specifically developed to support your young workers’ safety.


For more information call SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50 or visit  

If you need assistance with your safety compliance give HIA Safety a call on 1300 650 620


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