SafeWork urges retailers to support young workers

During the last quarter (Jan – Mar 2019), SafeWork NSW prosecuted eight companies in the district or local courts for breaching work health and safety laws.

In all these cases employers were fined for tragedies that could have easily been avoided. In four cases, young workers were seriously injured and one young worker died.

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 failed on the exterior maintenance platform they were working on. As a result, the business was fined $300,000 for neglecting to maintain their equipment.

Another 25 year old male sustained fatal head injuries when he fell from his motorbike while mustering sheep on a farm north east of Broken Hill. He was not wearing a helmet.

Two more young workers were critically injured in incidents while cleaning in commercial kitchens. A 17 year old male suffered third degree burns to both his feet and subsequently spent seven weeks in hospital while mopping up hazardous chemicals at a Queanbeyan hotel.

A 24 year old male slipped and stepped into a pot of hot cooking oil when he was cleaning the canopies of a commercial cooking unit. He also sustained third degree burns up to his knee and required skin grafts.

Tony Williams, SafeWork NSW Executive Director of Operations said regardless of how a young worker is employed or in which industry, they require extra support to ensure they are carrying out their tasks correctly and safely.

“We know young workers are less likely to speak up, they don’t have the experience and they are often employed in more casual or temporary positions, all of which makes them more vulnerable to hazards,” Mr Williams said.

“If you are a young worker you need to know your rights and understand that your employer has obligations to ensure your workplace is safe and you are trained for your job.”

All workers have the right to:

· be shown how to work safely

· appropriate safety equipment

· speak up

· say no to unsafe work

· be consulted

· workers compensation

· a fair and just workplace

· fair pay and conditions.

You have obligations too, such as taking reasonable care of yourself, not doing anything that would affect the health and safety of others at work and following any reasonable health and safety instructions from your employer.

“If you are an employer or supervisor it is critical that you encourage all young workers to speak up when they are not sure how to do a job or don’t feel that a job they are doing is as safe as it could be,” said Mr Williams.

“This will be something they can then carry through their working lives that will help keep themselves and others safe.”

Our Young Workers e-Toolkit for employers and young workers has a range of resources including how to deal with difficult scenarios and steps for assessing a situation – wait, take five.




MST Marquee – The impact of migration on retail

Retail businesses setting budgets and forecasting are understandably finding it difficult to navigate the uncertain economic conditions. Our research can help educate retailers about industry profitability benchmarks, wage growth and inventory levels, so that businesses can better prepare for the future.

Now more than ever

If business, and retail especially, must reflect the zeitgeist in order to remain relevant, then in this unique inflection point in history, the rights of Indigenous people must be incorporated

Retail Voice CEO Message: 8 May 2024

Achieving a unified voice for retail has been a compelling focus for our industry for many years. It is in the spirit of this endeavour that we are delighted to

Retail Voice CEO Message: 1 May 2024

Yesterday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released retail trade data for March, with a modest increase of just 0.8% compared to the same month last year, despite being bolstered by