Attitudes of teenagers towards workplace safety training

Academic Article


  • More than 70 % of teenagers are employed before graduating high school. Every 10 min, in the United States, a young worker is injured on the job. Safety training has been suggested as a way to prevent injuries, yet little is known about the methods of safety training and the effectiveness of training that teens receive at work. This study is the first to assess the attitudes teens hold towards safety training and what they believe would help them stay safe on the job. In 2010, focus groups and interviews were conducted with 42 teens from public high schools in Jefferson County, Kentucky. Participating teens were aged 15-19 years old, 43 % male, 69 % African-American, and 56 % worked either in the restaurant/food industry or in retail jobs. Most teens reported receiving safety training. Although the majority believed that safety training was important, many felt that they personally did not need safety training; that it was "common sense." However, 52 % of teens reported workplace injuries. Many viewed injury lightly and as part of the job, even those that sustained severe injuries. Most teens were trained by methods that seem at best "boring" and at worst, ineffective. Little interaction, action, or repetition is used. Training is not geared towards teens' developmental levels or interest, as in most cases all workers received the same type of training. Safety training may be a powerful way to reduce injury rates among working teenagers, but it is essential that training methods which are geared towards teens are utilized. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zierold KM; Welsh EC; McGeeney TJ
  • Start Page

  • 1289
  • End Page

  • 1295
  • Volume

  • 37
  • Issue

  • 6