New campaign to improve safety of young workers

Monday, 14 February, 2022

New campaign to improve safety of young workers

WorkSafe Victoria has launched a safety campaign featuring ‘UMM’, a tall, orange, furry character, to speak directly to young workers about common but unacceptable situations they might experience. Created by young people, for young people, thesocial media campaignrepresents a new approach for WorkSafe to communicate with this young target audience. UMM will target 15- to 19-year-olds who might have started their first part-time job, as well as 20- to 24-year-olds starting their first professional roles. Named for the expression that comes to mind when you’re not sure what to say, UMM aims to teach young workers about their rights and encourage them to speak up about unsafe working conditions. UMM builds on WorkSafe’s ongoing ‘Unsafe is Always Unacceptable’ campaign, which aims to raise employer awareness about young workers’ vulnerability. In 2021, WorkSafe accepted 2431 claims from workers aged 24 or younger.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said the UMM campaign should help young workers identify unsafe working environments by highlighting a diverse range of workplaces and situations where workers’ safety is at risk. Dr Beer added that the campaign will show that unsafe work practices can happen in a range of industries and situations — from unreasonable workloads to comments about appearance or being asked to complete tasks without proper training or guidance.

“Like many young workers UMM is eager to make a good impression, but can feel a little awkward about speaking up if something feels unsafe. No worker should ever feel unsafe. We’ve all experienced that ‘umm’ feeling before, so we want to empower young people to better understand their rights and feel confident speaking up when something isn’t safe. Safety is about more than just reducing the risks of physical injury,” Dr Beer said.

The campaign will run across social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram.

Image credit: ©

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