skip to nav skip to content

Project Details

Staying Safe at Work: A Critical Life Skill for Adolescents and Young Adults

Students show their workplace hazard map
Project Summary: 

In 2009, 359 workers less than 24 years of age died from work-related injuries, including 27 deaths of youth less than 18 years of age. For the 10-year period 1998 to 2007, there were an annual average of 795,000 nonfatal injuries to young workers treated in U.S. hospital injury departments. Young workers are injured at higher rates than older workers in large part because of the prevalence of hazards in the industries they work in, but also due to their lack of experience, developmental issues, inadequate training and supervision, and lack of employer compliance with age-protective labor laws.

Young workers need to enter the workforce with a foundational understanding of workplace hazards, how to control those hazards, what their workplace rights are, and problem-solving skills to address issues that come up in the workplace. LOHP is currently funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to research, test and evaluate strategies for institutionalizing this kind of training within California’s educational system. The project focuses on use of an existing, evaluated educational tool, the Youth @ Work: Talking Safety curriculum, that has already been used in 19 states by over 4000 teachers, job training professionals, and employers, who in turn trained thousands of youth. This intervention research project targets organizational change.

The goals of this three-year project are to: 1) Assure that all high school aged youth within targeted districts of the state learn basic life skills taught in the curriculum about workplace safety and health before entering the workforce; 2) Assure broad distribution of the curriculum throughout the state using LOHP’s well-established stakeholder network and structure; and 3) identify innovative means of distribution and implementation throughout California.

In addition to this project, LOHP conducts a broad variety of projects with the overarching goal of educating and protecting young workers on the job. Materials, training and awareness campaigns target teachers, parents, employers and youth.

Main Findings: 

The project’s overall analysis will focus primarily on documenting the implementation of curriculum activities in specific programs, in order to describe and summarize the experience of working with each type of program, including the approach used, needs identified by program staff, successes and barriers to implementation, and lessons learned. In addition to a summary of numbers and types of programs reached, the final evaluation report will include case study descriptions of our experience with individual programs that can be used to share specific strategies and lessons learned with educators and advocates in other states seeking to integrate Youth @ Work--Talking Safety activities and content into their own educational systems.

Contact Person: 
Diane Bush
Contact Person's Email Address:
Labor Occupational Health Program
Principal Investigators: 
Michael Wilson
Research Publications and Reports: 

Bush D, Dewey R, Miara C. (2007) Youth @ Work: Talking Safety. National version in partnership with NIOSH; tailored versions for all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Labor Occupational Health Program.

Miara C, Gallagher S, Bush D, Dewey R. (2003) Developing an Effective Tool for Teaching Teens About Workplace Safety, American Journal of Health Education, September/October Supplement, Volume 34, No. 5, pp. S-30--S-34.

California Partnership for Young Worker Health and Safety
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Location - States: 
Location - Countries: