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Notify WorkSafe Call 1300 366 322

New and young workers

This information:

  • covers work health and safety for new workers of any age. ‘New workers’ here covers apprentices, trainees, and students doing work experience placement
  • provides information for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) and managers of these new workers, new workers, and parents/guardians.

Attitudes and risks

WorkSafe Tasmania research has found that younger workers:

  • have a higher tendency to get injured within their first year of employment
  • don’t know who to talk to about safety at work or know where to look for information outside work
  • are less likely to raise safety issues with their manager, or ask for help or training. They might worry they’ll lose their job or be seen as complaining
  • think an injury is not worth mentioning, unless it’s so bad they can’t continue to work
  • may assume the equipment and chemicals they work with are safe
  • may think the protective equipment isn’t cool and won’t wear it unless someone makes them. They also may not know how to use this equipment properly
  • may not be aware of the hazards associated with work being done by others around them.

PCBU responsibilities: Inductions

If you’re a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), you must ensure your new workers receive effective induction, training and information.

An induction is where you explain how work health and safety is managed at your workplace. You should cover:

  • health and safety policies
  • safe work procedures
  • emergency procedures
  • hazards and risks at your workplace and involved in your worker’s job, and how you control these
  • people like first aiders, fire wardens and health and safety representatives
  • incident or hazard reporting procedures
  • other work matters such as who to tell if they’re sick (and how: phone or text?), pay and time keeping, working hours, eating and parking facilities, and any social matters.

To make your induction effective:

  • pace your induction over days or weeks; don’t overwhelm them with too much information at once
  • give clear verbal and written instructions; to make sure they understand, ask them to repeat them back to you
  • show and tell how to perform tasks safely; watch them do it and correct any mistakes
  • encourage them to ask questions
  • involve their supervisor and health and safety representative
  • follow up with support visits and training sessions.

Workers’ responsibilities

If you’re a worker (and this includes apprentices, trainees and students doing work experience placement), you must:

  • obey all reasonable instructions given to you by your manager or supervisor
  • follow the safe procedures for doing your job
  • use any equipment (including personal protective equipment) safely and correctly
  • not put yourself or your co-workers at risk
  • report hazards, incidents or near misses
  • work with your employer and co-workers to improve work health and safety at your workplace.

Your rights

As a worker, you have the right to:

  • work in a safe workplace
  • work in a safe manner
  • ask questions and raise concerns about work health and safety
  • get information; be supervised and trained
  • be involved in work health and safety.

Discussing safety

You can’t be sacked for raising work health and safety issues. So if you don’t know — ask.

But maybe you don’t know what to say or ask, or who. You could say or ask your supervisor or work health and safety representative:

  • I don’t feel safe using that equipment by myself just yet.
  • Is there training I can do so I know I’m using these chemicals safely?
  • Could someone show me how to do this task correctly and safely?
  • Could we go through the instructions for doing this task once more?
  • I’m not sure what the safest way to do this task is.
  • What protective equipment could I use when doing this so I don’t hurt myself?
  • What can I do to make sure I don’t injure myself doing my work?

For parents and guardians

If you’re a parent or guardian of a young person looking for work, or about to start their first job, work experience placement, apprenticeship or traineeship, start talking with them about work and safety. You can:

  • help them understand that being safe at work is important for their life outside work
  • give them the confidence to ask questions at work and take work health and safety seriously.

Ask more than just ‘how was your day at work?’. You can discuss:

  • the tasks they’re being asked to do, equipment and chemicals they may use, and the work environment (physical and cultural)
  • if they’ve been given an induction, training and safe work procedures so they know how to work safely
  • if the workplace/industry hazards have been explained, and what control measures are in place for these
  • if they have a supervisor that works with or near them, or a more experienced worker they can buddy with to learn from
  • if they know who they can ask questions and raise concerns with, and report hazards, incidents and injuries to (and encourage them to do so)
  • if they’re comfortable with the physical work environment, the tasks they’re being asked to do, and the people they work with.

Resources and solutions

WorkSafe Tasmania resources

Welcome to the Workplace: A guide for new workers (PDF, 657.3 KB)

Inducting new workers

Sample induction checklist (DOCX, 78.6 KB)

Employers and schools: Request a free Advisory Service visit to your school or workplace to help your new workers/students understand safety

Other resources

An employer’s guide to employing young workers: Fair Work Australia (external link)

Updated: 13th December 2019