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Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) and Worker's Compensation
Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) and Worker's Compensation

Your employer has a legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace.

Young Workers Advice Service Team avatar
Written by Young Workers Advice Service Team
Updated over a week ago

Your employer must do all that they can to provide a safe working environment. They must ensure that the workplace and the work that you do, does not hurt you or make you sick.

Your employer must also have insurance. If you are hurt or become sick, worker’s compensation may pay for your medical treatment and cover your wages until you can work again. 

This applies to all workers and volunteers, even if you are doing work experience, are a casual worker, or are on a visa. 

In the ACT, your employer must provide: 

  • A safe and healthy workplace 

  • Safe equipment, structures, and systems of work 

  • Adequate workplace amenities and facilities 

  • Information, training and supervision, especially if you have to use equipment 

  • The opportunity for you to talk about work health and safety 

Your employer must show you how to do your job safely, give you the right training and personal protective equipment ('PPE', such as aprons, gloves or goggles), and not ask you to do anything that is unsafe. 

As a worker, you must also take reasonable care of yourself, and not do anything that would affect the health and safety of co-workers. You must follow reasonable health and safety instructions from your employer.  

However, if you are concerned or feel unsafe, you have a legal right to say ‘no’ and refuse to do a task. If you are pressured into doing something you feel is unsafe, you should call your union, your local workplace Health and Safety Representative, or WorkSafe. 

If you are hurt or injured at work, you should immediately get first aid or see a medical professional. Tell your employer and someone else, such as a parent/guardian or friend, what has happened. You will probably be asked to fill in an incident report – do this as soon as possible. Do not be afraid to ask for help – even if you did something wrong. 

The most common types of injury young workers face are sprains, strains, cuts, bone fractures, and burns. Young workers are also more likely to experience bullying and harassment. These are all examples of injuries that can and should be reported.

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