249294 Setting an Agenda for Advancing Young Worker Safety

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Carol Runyan, PhD , Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, CO
John Lewko, PhD , Centre for Research in Human Development, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada
Kimberly J. Rauscher, ScD, MA , Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Background and Objectives: Work has multiple effects on youth, both positive and negative. On average, 17.6 million workers under age 25 are employed in the US, with an injury morbidity rate (5.0 per 100 FTE) twice as high as for workers over age 25. Scholarship addressing youth employment spans multiple disciplines yet with limited integration. This project involved four multidisciplinary meetings to synthesize knowledge and engage both labor and management practice perspectives to facilitate more integrated approaches for improving work for young people. Methods: The first three meetings used white papers drawing on developmental, epidemiologic and program evaluation perspectives to stimulate discussion and identify unanswered questions,. In the fourth meeting, participants prioritized issues for both research and policy via structured discussions. Sixty individuals participated in one or more of the meetings. Results: Our process identified key priorities for both research and policy, including the need for a clear federal focus on young worker safety, the possible expansion of protections to age 25, and the development of defined mechanisms for enhancing evidence-based practice. Policy recommendations stressed enforcement of existing laws and the need to strengthen protection in agricultural settings. Surveillance recommendations addressed the importance of common definitions across systems and inclusion of the youngest workers. The discussions revealed many unanswered research questions, including issues in workplace contexts as well as in broad social and developmental contexts. Conclusions: This series of multidisciplinary meetings illuminated the array of issues important for protecting young workers and identified potential strategies for moving ahead.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify areas of needed research and intervention to protect young workers.

Keywords: Youth, Youth at Work

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the PI of the project and have more than 20 years experience doing research on this subject.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.