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SafeWork NSW launches strategy to protect workers most at risk

SafeWork NSW has launched its at-risk workers’ strategy 2018-2022 focusing on four groups of workers who have been identified as being most at risk of workplace illness and injury. The body now needs industry involvement to produce meaningful change.

The groups identified as being most at risk in the workplace are:

  • Young workers (aged up to 25)

  • Migrant workers

  • Culturally and linguistically diverse workers

  • Workers employed in labour hire arrangements

The report was developed in consultation with key community groups, industry representatives and stakeholders including the RCSA which was heavily involved in the process. The strategy precedes the release of the 2018-19 Action Plan for each group identified of being most at risk.

The Action Plans will detail the priority activities to be undertaken to improve the level of safety of these four groups of workers - and the workforce as a whole - and industry feedback into these plans is now being accepted.

“Over the next five years there will be many opportunities to work with us on this important strategy, and we encourage you to contact us if you’d like to be involved,” Belinda McKean, A/Director, Operational Capacity, SafeWok NSW said. “We will promote these opportunities as well. We also seek your support to help raise awareness of the At risk workers’ strategy 2018-2022 through your networks, and create an open dialogue among and within workplaces about a tailored approach to workplace health and safety to meet each worker’s needs.”

The At Risk Worker’s Strategy report noted that risk factors impacting the health and safety of these four groups of workers in particular included inadequate supervision and training, language barriers and a limited understanding of WH&S and worker obligations and rights. The risk factors were identified through a SafeWork NSW survey completed last year by labour hireworkers which showed a reluctance to speak up among these employee groups - notably labour hire workers - added to the level of risk they experienced as did inexperience on the job and fear of losing their jobs.

The RCSA encourages members to consider these risk factors and review their processes to ensure that they are providing the highest level of protection to their labour hire workers.

“SafeWork NSW has launched a five-year At risk workers’ strategy 2018-2022, which aims to support and protect young, migrant, culturally and linguistically diverse and labour hire workers from injuries and illnesses at work,” McKean continued.

Organisations and individuals interested in being involved in developing the Action Plans should email

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