Employers reminded to ensure safety of young workers

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A recent court case in Brisbane in which a company was fined $80,000 after a young worker’s hand was injured by a wheel trencher prompted Workplace Health and Safety Queensland to remind employers to ensure the safety of young workers.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s Tony James said employers should know that young workers will often take risks if they are anxious to please their bosses and should be protected against this blind enthusiasm.

The young worker was engaged as a pipeline labourer His responsibilities included observing the wheel trencher for obstacles or blockage while it was in operation. He noticed a stick about to jam between two of the bucket wheel, reached in with his hand and moved the stick out of the way.

“Whether it’s part-time work to get through uni or embarking on their careers, young people need extra supervision, training, and direction,” said Mr. James.

“Around 50 young Queenslanders a day – mostly young men – suffer a compensable work injury, and one a day is permanently impaired.

“Young workers have a unique risk profile and it’s up to employers to consider this when managing them. A proper induction, plenty of support and much-needed training are vital.

“With the silly season starting, businesses may attempt to rush jobs before the shutdown, even giving the work to inexperienced youngsters – but the safety risks aren’t worth it.”

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland says laws require employers to identify the health and safety risks of particular work tasks and adopt procedures to eliminate or control them; train workers in the procedures and provide them with any safety equipment they need; and ensure workers perform their tasks safely by providing training, supervision and support.

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