Waiting for safety: Responses by young Canadian workers to unsafe work

INTRODUCTION: This study examines young workers' responses to unsafe work through the lens of the exit, voice, patience, and neglect typology (Leck & Saunders, 1992). METHOD: In Canada, social marketing campaigns and high school curriculum concerning workplace safety for young workers promote the benefits of "speaking out" against dangerous work. We conducted focus group interviews with teenagers in two Canadian cities to understand the types of work-related hazards experienced by this group, how they respond to hazards, and barriers to injury prevention. RESULTS: Instead of speaking up about hazards, the vast majority of young workers in our sample take a "wait-and-see" approach when they have safety concerns. Their reluctance to raise issues by voicing concerns was related to fear of being fired, status as newcomers, supervisor indifference, and feelings of powerlessness. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the emphasis on "speaking out" against unsafe work, young workers' beliefs about the perils of voicing persist.

Source : Sean Tucker, Nick Turner. Journal of Safety Research, Vol. 45, June 2013, p. 103-110. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsr.2013.01.006

 

 

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