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At risk workers.

At risk workers. (Last Updated On: April 4, 2017)

Training, supervision, and the provision of Safe Work Instructions are all requirements to ensure the safety of all workers in any organisation, particularly as your organisation may contain a number of workers who may be deemed as at risk.

At risk workers are people who could be at a greater risk of injury or illness while on the job. Examples of at risk workers are, resourced from Safework NSW:

  • young workers
  • new workers, apprentices and trainees, and contractors
  • workers with low literacy skills or migrant or cultural and linguistically diverse workers
  • workers with a disability
  • new/expectant mums

Even though they may be able to do the job, they may need extra consideration when managing any potential risk to their safety. This is not to say these workers should not be considered for jobs.

Employer responsibilities. 

If you are an employer you must provide:

  • a safe and healthy workplace
  • safe equipment, structures, and systems of work
  • adequate workplace amenities and facilities
  • information, training and supervision
  • the opportunity for you to talk about work health and safety

It is important for employers to recognise and understand the risk profiles of at risk workers and provide support and guidance to workers as well as including them in how the health and safety is managed in the workplace.

Worker responsibilities.

Young workers are required to take reasonable care of themselves, and not do anything that would affect the health and safety of others at work.

Like all workers, they must follow reasonable health and safety instructions from an employer.

Important tips:

  • ask if you are not sure how to safely perform the work
  • follow instructions and work safely
  • report unsafe and unhealthy situations and injuries to your immediate supervisor

It is important for all at risk workers to be encouraged to actively participate in how work, health and safety is managed in the workplace and to ask questions or ask for help if they are not comfortable with or are not quite sure what to do.

Examples of at risk workers.

Young workers.

They can be inexperienced, lack knowledge to recognise safety risks and may not be willing to speak up.

New workers, apprentices and trainees, and contractors.

They might not be familiar with the workplace, or aware of the systems in place to keep them and others safe.

Workers with low literacy skills or migrant or cultural and linguistically diverse workers.

Workers who may not be able to read or write properly, this can affect their ability to understand and follow instructions, exposing them to greater risk.

Workers with a disability.

They may require adjustments or modifications that encourage an inclusive workplace and help them work safely or additional supervision during their introduction into the workplace.

New/expectant mums.

They may be more prone to health-related risks or sensitive to the effects of biological agents or chemicals like, air fresheners or fertilizers.

Every state and territory has different legislation covering work health and safety so careful attention should be given to the regulations in your state or territory.


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