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E3.1 Injuries to Young Workers: An Overview-Davis L

Millions of youth in the United States are employed each year. While work can have important benefits, it also imposes health and safety risks. Each year nearly 70 youth die as a result of work-related injuries and tens of thousands are injured. This presentation will provide an overview of youth employment in the United States and the descriptive epidemiology of both fatal and non-fatal occupational injuries among young workers. Patterns by age, gender, and industry will be described and the available information on comparative injury rates for young and adult workers will be discussed. Risk factors specific to young workers that need to be taken into account in developing intervention activities will be also be addressed. These include, for example, the developmental characteristics of youth and inexperience. Some of the outstanding research questions will also be highlighted.

 

E3.2 Expanded Opportunities for Prevention of Young Worker Injuries-Sinclair, RC

There is little disagreement that there is a need for information and education about young worker injuries. Youth, parents, employers, teachers, health departments, labor departments, and health care providers tend to be surprisingly uninformed about the hazards youth face at work and what can be done to prevent injuries. In 1995, NIOSH funded three community-based health education projects to learn how to increase prevention knowledge. Those projects yielded a number of lessons that were collected in a resource guide for community leaders on how to intervene at the community level. In spite of those lessons, there was much more to be learned. In particular, methods to institutionalize education about young worker issues in communities were still underdeveloped. Consequently, in 1998 and 1999, new projects were funded to expand knowledge about introducing and sustaining interest in young worker issues among communities. Each project looks at a different aspect of community interventions and brings different expertise to bear. Each project also uses different evaluation methods. One project is conducting a rigorous evaluation of curriculum in schools in Minnesota. Another project is working in contrasting ethnic communities in Los Angeles to learn about different attitudes toward young worker injuries. The third project is facilitating state-level teams in New England who are conducting small health education projects in selected communities. These projects are providing further lessons about how to intervene, but they also provide a spectrum of evaluation challenges. They attempt to address different levels of social influence, so they must be evaluated in different ways. The results of these projects may inform the progress of community intervention evaluations.

 

E3.3 Coordinated State Efforts to Prevent Young Worker Injuries-Miara CH

In 1998, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health provided a three-year grant to the Education Development Center to form the Northeast Young Worker Resource Center (NYWRC). This regional resource center serves Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York, and New Jersey. With assistance from the NYWRC, teams have formed in five of the states, which include representatives from state departments of health, labor, and education. Drawing on the experiences and materials already developed by three NIOSH community-based grantees, these teams have undertaken a variety of activities to address the safety of young workers at the state level.

The state teams' accomplishments demonstrate the value of building collaborations among various disciplines. This presentation will describe ways young worker safety is being integrated into various institutions and programs in the state and policy changes are being implemented. Activities range from the department of education sending copies of a health department-developed young worker safety brochure to all schools in the state; a state-level training team that provides workshops for job trainers, teachers, and local health professionals; advocacy for changes to the work permit system; presentations for employers at a statewide conference; improvements in collection of data on young worker injuries; and integration of occupational safety into the state's coordinated school health program.

The teams have also selected one community in their state in which to pilot an educational intervention. This presentation will also highlight several examples of ways that the state teams and the community projects are building on each others' work.

 

E3.4 Community-Based Efforts to Prevent Young Worker Injuries in an Ethnic Community-Guihama JB

Recently, an important National Research Council/IOM report, "Protecting Youth At Work," acknowledged the lack of information and research about the work experiences of immigrant and minority youth. This presentation will share experiences and lessons learned from a community- and school-based young worker education project that works with youth of color in Los Angeles.

The focus of this presentation will be to provide an overview of a project that combines school-based education and skills building revolving around the issues of young worker safety and health, peer education and youth leadership with community-based opportunities for youth-led outreach and education. In addition, this presentation will describe the experiences of minority youth who are involved in this young worker intervention project.

The evaluation of this intervention project will also be briefly discussed. This evaluation will assess the role of school-based curricula and peer education about job safety and worker rights in reaching students and the broader community. This evaluation involves both qualitative and quantitative methods to answer the following questions:

- How effective is a two week 9th grade curriculum unit at raising students' awareness of occupational safety and health?

- What is the impact of a semester-long curriculum on educating 11th/12th grade students about worker rights and developing peer education and leadership skills?

- What is the role of students in reaching their peers and parents with information about occupational safety and health and worker rights?

The preliminary results will be discussed in the context of reaching the largely underserved population of immigrant workers and their families with information about occupational safety and health and worker rights.

 

E3.5 School-based Efforts to Prevent Young Worker Injuries-Hillmer TG

Purpose: Inclusion of a work health and safety curriculum into existing school curricula has the potential to reach a broad group of adolescents and impact their work-safety behaviors. The purpose of this project was to develop, implement and evaluate a school-based occupational health and safety curriculum.

Methods: The curriculum "Work Safe Work Smart" was developed by a curriculum development team that included teaching and public health professionals. The curriculum attempts to promote changes in students that are predictive of adopting safe work-related behavior.

In January and February 2000, the curriculum was taught in required classes to all 9th and 10th grade students in five rural Minnesota schools. Six schools within the same geographic region served as controls. Pretests were administered to 9th and 10th graders in the eleven participating schools prior to implementation of "Work Safe Work Smart". Post-tests were given approximately two weeks following completion of the curriculum, and again six months later. Process evaluation in intervention schools included teacher checklist, classroom observer checklists, and teacher and student interviews.

Results: The curriculum was successfully incorporated into existing courses, such as health, social studies and career exploration during the study period. Information from implementation teachers and administrators further elucidated factors involved in institutionalization of the topic into the school curricula. Data collected from student interviews and the outcome evaluation will provide insight into the efficacy of "Work Safe Work Smart" to produce change in predictors of students' work-related safety behaviors.

Conclusion: These data will provide information on incorporating occupational safety and health curricula into existing schools curricula. It will also provide insight into the impact teaching "Work Safe Work Smart" has on students.

    

 

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Page last updated: March 2001
Page last reviewed: March 2001
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Division of Safety Research