World Day for Safety and Health at Work - keeping young people safe and well at work

28 April is World Day for Safety and Health at Work, and Workers’ Memorial Day.

We remember those who have died from a work-related injury or illness, and commit to ensuring everyone comes home from work safe and well.

World Day for Safety and Health at Work is promoted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

This year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work focuses on improving the safety and health of young workers.

We want to build safe and healthy workplaces for young workers and future generations. You should be able to expect your loved ones to return home healthy and safe from work each day.

Young people bring energy and fresh ideas to work, but they may have little or no work experience and limited awareness of the risks, which makes them vulnerable to being harmed at work.

Young people perceive things differently to adults. They may have less understanding of risky situations, want to explore and try new things and push boundaries. Young workers also don’t have the physical ability or skills to do certain work.

They need training and supervision to make the right choices to keep safe at work.

There are also a few things that young people absolutely cannot do. You can read more about this in our info sheet:

Information sheet on young people in the workplace

Bringing young people into the workplace is a great way to provide them with experience, and we certainly don’t want to stop that from happening. But young people bring different risks to the workplace, which need to be considered and managed to keep them and others safe and well.

Young people can be overly keen to please or over-confident in their capabilities, and reluctant to ask questions or speak out about problems.

It’s important that young workers are encouraged to speak up when they see something unsafe or unhealthy, and that if they have a concern, question or idea, that they can talk to their supervisor, health and safety representative, or a more experienced workmate about it.

Businesses must have clear, effective, and ongoing ways for workers to suggest improvements or raise concerns on a day-to-day basis. A positive workplace culture driven by leadership and communication is vital to engaging young workers in health and safety. The time a young person spends with any employer will influence their understanding of what is expected of them with regards to workplace behaviour.

Health and safety is important not just for your job, but for enjoying your life outside of work as well.

Especially for World Day, we have created a young people at work webpage to provide information and resources about building safe and healthy workplaces for young workers:

Young people at work 

We encourage you to promote World Day for Safety and Health at Work at your workplace. You could:

  • watch the Use Your Mouth videos
  • share our social media posts
  • arrange a safety expert to speak in your workplace
  • speak up: if something doesn't look safe - call it. Don't walk past anything dodgy without saying something.