YOUNG WORKER SAFETY AND HEALTH

Current NIOSH Intramural Research on Young Workers

NIOSH has played a lead role in efforts to reduce injuries and illnesses among young workers, with an emphasis on workers less than 18 years of age and the agricultural sector. NIOSH has conducted and supported surveillance, risk factor, and intervention evaluation research. NIOSH has disseminated research findings and worked with others in collaborative outreach.

Equipping Young Workers with Foundational Occupational Safety and Health Competencies
The purpose of this four-year research project is to build on an existing evidence base to develop, implement, and evaluate a work safety training intervention for high school teachers and students in career and technical education programs in U.S. school districts. The intervention will be conducted in the Miami-Dade County Public School System, the fourth largest U.S. school district with more than 350,000 students, where the SSRW research team has a successful record of collaboration. The intervention goals are to: prepare the emerging workforce in Miami-Dade career tech programs to be safe and healthy on the job, now and in the future, and; create a sustainable, scalable (to other districts) training model to reduce work-related risks and prevent injuries.

Project Contact: Rebecca Guerin
Division of Science Integration

Promoting Foundational Occupational Safety and Health among Contingent Workers
The primary purpose of this four-year study is to develop and pilot test a new training program, based on the NIOSH 8 Core Competencies, to promote foundational occupational safety and health (OSH) knowledge and skills among job seekers/temporary workers through a workforce development organization. To inform the development of this new training, focus groups with contingent workers and job seekers and interviews with organizational stakeholders will be conducted to better understand the OSH knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, experiences, and training needs of contingent workers and job seekers involved in workforce development programming, as well as the barriers and facilitators to integrating foundational OSH knowledge and skills training within the workforce development sector.

Project Contact: Rebecca Guerin
Division of Science Integration

Development of Occupational Safety and Health Questions for a Youth Health Survey
CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) is a system of surveys that monitors health behaviors and outcomes of youth in the United States. Since 1991, the YRBSS has collected data from more than 4.4 million high school students. The national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) has never included questions about employment or work-related health issues, and only a few states have ever included occupational safety and health questions on their state YRBS. This project aims to improve occupational health surveillance of young workers through addition of work-related questions to the YRBSS.

Project Contact: Taylor Shockey
Division of Field Studies and Engineering

Dissemination and Integration of OSH to Young Workers
The goal of this project is to maintain, improve, and promote Talking Safety, the NIOSH curriculum for young workers. Talking Safety is a foundational, evidence-based curriculum in occupational safety and health for middle schools and high schools which is customized for each of the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to reflect both federal and state child labor laws. Talking Safety teaches core competencies in workplace safety and health (NIOSH Core Competencies). The major output each year is an updated curriculum. Additional outputs include conference presentations, training workshops, and articles in trade and teacher magazines. The desired outcome of this effort is adoption of the curriculum by middle and high schools so that the skills inherent in the curriculum are taught as life skills needed for youth to become productive, safe workers.

Project Contact: Devin Baker
Division of Science Integration

National Children’s Center for Rural Agricultural Health and Safety
The National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety strives to enhance the safety and health of all children exposed to hazards associated with agricultural work and rural environments, through national leadership, development of guidelines where empirical evidence does not exist or regulations do not apply, through formal and informal partnerships with relevant stakeholder groups, and via outreach communications to the agricultural community. NCCRAHS interacts with all regional NIOSH Agricultural Centers and leads efforts to coordinate activities of childhood agricultural safety advocates across the U.S.

Project Contact: Steve Dearwent
Office of Extramural Programs

Safe, Skilled Ready Workforce: Research and Implementation Recommendations
The purpose of this project is to conduct research and outreach activities to support the NIOSH Safe • Skilled • Ready Workforce (SSRW) program. The SSRW program targets the delivery of eight transferable, work-readiness competencies to young workers and to new hires before they enter the workforce or start a new job. These foundational skills form the basis for and complement job-specific knowledge and skill curricula already being taught through apprenticeship and other vocational and career technical training programs.

Project Contact: Rebecca Guerin
Division of Science Integration

Preparing the Emerging Workforce in Oklahoma with Foundational Skills for Safe and Health Work
The main goals of the project are: to systematically integrate foundational workplace safety and health skills into high-school classrooms in Oklahoma County Public Schools, using the NIOSH Talking Safety curriculum; and to institutionalize a process, (i.e., develop a sustainable, transferable model) for integrating Talking Safety and the NIOSH 8 Core Competencies into middle schools and high schools in OK that can be taken to scale in other school districts in OK and elsewhere in the US.

Project Contact: Rebecca Guerin
Division of Science Integration

Safe • Skilled • Ready Workforce Initiative Program
This program seeks to prepare all current and future workers for safe and healthy work. In the past, work risks have been considered separately from the risks of daily life. Because most adults spend more than a third of their waking hours at work, the on-the-job hazards they face have a great effect on their overall well-being. Problems at work can lead to risks in personal and community life, and conditions that affect people at home—stress, obesity, heart disease, depression, and others—spill over into work hours. This raises health-care costs, causes higher turnover, lowers productivity, and forces people miss work more often.

Through the Safe-Skilled-Ready Workforce program, NIOSH can find further ways to bridge the gap between work risks and the risks of daily life.

Project Contact: Rebecca Guerin
Division of Science Integration

Building a Model for Integrating Workplace Safety and Health Skills in Miami-Dade Public Schools
The main goals of the project are: to systematically integrate foundational workplace safety and health skills—e.g., the NIOSH Eight Core Competencies—into existing programs in Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), Florida, the fourth largest school district in the United States (in terms of student enrollment); and to institutionalize a process—i.e., develop a sustainable and transferable model—for integrating the NIOSH 8 Core Competencies in middle schools and high schools in M-DCPS that may then be adapted to other school districts across the United States.

Project Contact: Rebecca Guerin
Division of Science Integration

021H: Understanding Workplace Violence among Young Workers in the US
The purpose of this project is to develop the first national profile of workplace violence among workers ages 15-24 with the long term goal of reducing workplace violence incidence and its negative effects on young workers.

Project Contact: Sharon Chiou
Office of Extramural Programs

Page last reviewed: October 5, 2020