Parents, supervisors and co-workers have greatest interpersonal influences in reducing young worker injuries

July 5, 2017 by Stephane Massinon, University of Calgary
Parents, supervisors and co-workers have greatest interpersonal influences in reducing young worker injuries
Nick Turner, Haskayne School of Business professor, has completed a research paper into the high rate of injuries among younger workers. Credit: Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Parents, as your kids prepare for their summer jobs, have you talked to them about workplace safety? You really should.

A new national study examined for the first time who the behaviour of young workers aged 15 to 24. The researchers looked at six sources of influence—parents, siblings, teachers, friends, supervisors and co-workers—to see how they related to the workers' risk-taking behaviour and frequency of minor injuries.

Their findings show that among the six sources of influence, parents, supervisors and co-workers had the largest positive influence. The study "Injunctive Safety Norms, Young Worker Risk-taking Behaviors and Workplace Injuries" was recently published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.

Teachers' influence on young workers is minimal

"What was surprising is that even with 18-year-olds, parents can still have an influence on how their children behave at work," says co-author Nick Turner, a Haskayne School of Business professor and new research chair with the Canadian Centre for Advanced Leadership in Business. "Compared to parents, supervisors, and co-workers, teachers didn't have an effect.

"This may be because for teachers to have an influence on kids' work safety behaviours, they need more structured, consistent interaction with kids about work—which parents, supervisors, and co-workers naturally have more of an opportunity to do."

Workplace injuries for young workers take a significant toll every year. In 2015, according to statistics from the Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada, there were 15 deaths among workers aged 15 to 24 and 30,207 claims. In a separate study published in 2015, the researchers found incidence rates of minor injuries—burns, cuts, strains, etc. that did not require time off work—to have occurred at least once a month to one in three surveyed workers.

Parents play important role in promoting work safety with their kids

"If we're thinking about ways to promote work safety among young workers, we should not forget that alongside supervisors and co-workers, parents can play an important role, even though parents may not be directly involved in their kids' workplaces," says Turner.

Supervisors and parents who make safety an important part of what they talk about and practise can reduce risky behaviour and injuries among young workers.

"Getting a sense that your manager actually cares about safety—whether it's part of your work conversations, that she or he is open to suggestions about how to improve safety, etc.—sends the message that your and your employer care about you. That's motivating. This is likely the same pathway for ," says Turner.

Temporary, seasonal nature of work creates singular challenges for youth

Turner also notes it is important to remember that young workers face particular challenges in their , compared to adult workers doing the same type of work.

"Given the temporary and seasonal nature of their work, many young workers do not get very much safety training, despite managers acknowledging that safety training is important. Compared to adult workers, may also lack job-specific knowledge, the confidence to speak up about unsafe work conditions, and a sense of how vulnerable they may be to work injuries," says Turner.

Explore further: Unreported data for workplace injuries

More information: Simon Pek et al. Injunctive safety norms, young worker risk-taking behaviors, and workplace injuries, Accident Analysis & Prevention (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.aap.2017.06.007

Related Stories

Unreported data for workplace injuries

May 1, 2017
Accidents leading to work injuries cost an estimated $57 billion in Australia and new research from the University of South Australia shows workplaces are unlikely to be adequately addressing injury prevention because management ...

Overweight and obesity linked to high workers' compensation costs

September 28, 2016
Obese and overweight workers are more likely to incur high costs related to workers' compensation claims for major injuries, reports a study in the September Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication ...

New study examines injuries to US workers with disabilities

August 6, 2012
A new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and The Ohio State University compared medically attended noncccupational and occupational ...

Safety issue revealed as 1 in 20 Australian workers admits to drinking at work

June 28, 2011
A national survey has found that more than one in twenty Australian workers report using alcohol while at work or just before work, and more than one in fifty report taking drugs during or just before work. These findings, ...

Too many parents say no to helmets for kids on wheels

May 10, 2017
(HealthDay)—Injuries from cycling or other wheeled activities send over 400,000 kids to U.S. emergency rooms each year. Yet, many parents don't require their children to wear helmets or other safety gear, researchers say.

Recommended for you

Low-protein high-carb diet shows promise for healthy brain aging

November 20, 2018
Low-protein high-carbohydrate diets may be the key to longevity, and healthy brain ageing in particular, according to a new mice study from the University of Sydney.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are harmful to health and may be addictive, researchers suggest

November 20, 2018
Just as we might have guessed, those tasty, sugar-sweetened beverages that increase risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases may actually be addictive. Youth between 13 and 18 years of age who were deprived of sugary drinks ...

Emotional abuse may be linked with menopause misery

November 19, 2018
Smoking, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle have long been linked to heightened symptoms of menopause. Now, a study headed by UC San Francisco has identified another factor that may add to menopause torment: an emotionally ...

How AI could help veterinarians code their notes

November 19, 2018
A team led by scientists at the School of Medicine has developed an algorithm that can read the typed-out notes from veterinarians and predict specific diseases that the animal may have.

Bullying and violence at work increases the risk of cardiovascular disease

November 19, 2018
People who are bullied at work or experience violence at work are at higher risk of heart and brain blood vessel problems, including heart attacks and stroke, according to the largest prospective study to investigate the ...

A low-gluten, high-fiber diet may be healthier than gluten-free

November 16, 2018
When healthy people eat a low-gluten and fibre-rich diet compared with a high-gluten diet, they experience less intestinal discomfort including less bloating. Researchers at University of Copenhagen show that this is due ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.