1724b Evolution of a young worker training curriculum: taking safety from the classroom to the break room

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Abstract

Introduction

Young Workers (14–24) represent a valuable aspect of the workforce. However, limited work experience and developmental factors predispose young workers to an increased risk of occupational injuries compared to their older counterparts. Although traditional safety training has targeted the identification of hazards (e.g., chemical exposures, physically demanding work), it typically does not address work environment/organisational factors that can also impact health and safety (e.g., long hours/fatigue, reluctance to speak up, low decision-making authority). Promoting U through Safety and Health (PUSH) expands the NIOSH Talking Safety: Youth@Work curriculum to incorporate Total Worker Health components.

Methods

Young workers participated in a multi-step evaluation of the online training. First a randomised control trial was conducted with parks and recreation employees and food service workers who completed either PUSH or a control training. Additional cohorts were then recruited to evaluate a revised training that included updated videos and images that more clearly demonstrated Total Worker Health concepts.

Result

This was the first job for most parks and recreation employees (68%); however, only 19% of the food service workers were working their first job. There were no differences between the groups on their pre-test knowledge scores (75%). Groups completing the PUSH training demonstrated significant increases in knowledge at post-test compared to participants completing the control training (p<0.001). The majority felt young workers should be required to take a training like PUSH and would recommend the training to their co-workers. The revised training demonstrated a 30% increase in knowledge from pre- to post-test.

Discussion

Online programs have been successful in educating and altering behaviours of adults and adolescents. Although widely used to promote health behaviours, there is limited information on training addressing workplace hazards, particularly among young workers. This evaluation demonstrates the efficacy of a Total Worker Health training for young workers.

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