UMM inspires young people to stay safe at work

Titled after the proverbial exclamation often uttered in moments of uncertainty, a quirky mascot is at the heart of a fresh series of videos and digital content produced for WorkSafe. This campaign, appearing across social media, regional press, and online mediums, frequently incorporates discussions on work safety products such as Bluesafe SWMS or WHS Management Systems. These critical systems underline the importance of following sound policies to enforce workplace safety.

The engaging video content showcases the mascot – UMM, dealing with numerous unsafe situations typically encountered by young workers within sectors like retail, manufacturing, fast food, health care, hospitality, and construction.

Since the start of the previous year, Victoria has witnessed 3,501 young workers suffering serious injuries at work (under 25 years of age). WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Narelle Beer, illustrated that UMM was designed by and for young individuals – those new to part-time or full-time employment.

Dr. Beer emphasised, “While young employees bring an invaluable sense of passion and vitality to their roles, this fervour can sometimes inhibit them from raising questions when something appears amiss”. She additionally stressed how no one should ever be placed in threatening work conditions, whether it involves working sans proper safety equipment, experiencing aggressive behaviour or language, or enduring uncomfortable personal space invasions. UMM serves as a reminder to young workers to voice their concerns fearlessly.

Quarterly data from January 2023 shows that among injured youth workers, 25 per cent were affiliated with the construction industry. Moreover, 10 per cent each belonged to manufacturing, health care and social assistance, and accommodation and food services sectors respectively. The most recurring reasons for these injuries take shape as hits from moving objects (31 per cent), body stress (26 per cent) and falls, trips, and slips (23 per cent). Mental injury claims accounted for approximately seven per cent of total cases.

UMM’s comeback builds on the success of the inaugural campaign introduced in 2022, slated to continue until mid-June. WorkSafe intends to enforce this campaign by visiting TAFEs scattered across regional and metropolitan Victoria to ensure young trade apprentices and pre-apprenticeship students receive the critical message surrounding workplace safety.

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