• Research targets
Mandate In Quebec in 2003, 522,000 young people were employed and represented 16% of the working population. While more than half of them work part-time, they suffer more injuries than their older colleagues, who mainly work full-time. Why is this so? Is it the fact that they are new workers? Is it that they lack training? Or is it simply because they are young? Are they exposed to different risks? Many questions remain unanswered...
Since the spring of 2004, the IRSST has been focusing its efforts on better identifying the issues that affect young people and occupational health and safety as part of an initiative called Opération JEUNESST. The latter is based on a troubling observation regarding compensation statistics for young workers 15 to 24 years of age, on evidence of transformations in types of jobs and the labour market in the current social, economic and political context, and on the fact that today’s young people seem to have values that are unique to them, but that also reflect all these societal changes.
The mandate of Opération JeuneSST is to plan, organize and implement a research development strategy regarding young people and occupational health and safety, thereby allowing the IRSST to support the interventions of the CSST, the OHS network and workplaces.
In order to better document the concerns of partner researchers, intermediaries, and research project users interested in young workers, the Opération JeuneSST team set up two advisory committees (a scientific committee and a social partners committee) and drew on their expertise. The themes identified by these committees were used to develop the IRSST’s research orientation strategy regarding the issue of young people and OHS. This strategy is based on four research targets:
EXEMPLARY LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS AS REGARDS OHS
- Transmission of safety know-how during occupational training
- OHS conditions of learning environments
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Insertion JOB INSERTION PROVIDING FOR THE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE INTEGRATION OF YOUNG WORKERS
- Professional careers and occupational injuries
- Safe and effective integration into the workplace
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WORK PERFORMANCE CONDITIONS CONDUCIVE TO THE MAINTENANCE OF HEALTH
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OHS AWARENESS-RAISING ACTIVITIES ADAPTED TO YOUNG WORKERS
List of all projects related to Opération JeuneSST
The temerity and inexperience of young workers are often cited as the reason for their high risk of accidents. The reality is much more complex. Several factors contribute to their greater vulnerability, such as professional careers, job insertion conditions, work performance conditions, employment conditions and societal changes. • Some statistical data
•Summary of knowledge
Some statistical data
The employment rate of young workers has increased significantly over the past few years, rising from 58% in 1998 to 66% in 2002. It is therefore similar to the employment rate for the population at large (66% in 2002).
The vast majority of young people work in the retail, hotel and food services sectors (cafés, restaurants, video clubs, clothing stores, supermarkets, warehouse stores).
Young people represent a segment of the population that is particularly prone to occupational injuries. While it is estimated that they work 10% of the hours of all workers, they injure themselves at a rate of 16%.
A statistical report on compensated workers whose occupational injury required time in a physical, social and/or occupational rehabilitation program in 2001 and 2002, shows that the rate of permanent physical and/or psychological impairment among young workers between 15 and 19 years of age is almost double the average rate, standing at 17.3% of young workers in rehabilitation.
Young workers often face many organizational constraints (irregular schedules, night schedules, low compensation) or physical constraints (repetitive work, efforts, handling of heavy objects, noise, solvents, tool vibration, machine vibration, dust) in their jobs compared with older workers.
The accumulation of constraints is associated with an increased rate of work accidents, particularly among young people.
Summary of knowledge
- Studies have focused mainly on compensated occupational injuries and work accidents.
The incidence of occupational injuries generally decreases with age.
Certain types of injuries seem much more frequent among young workers, such as burns, cuts, fractures, lacerations and overexertion.
Most studies show a higher accident rate among young men than young women. This difference is mainly attributable to the fact that men and women do not hold the same jobs and are not exposed to the same work conditions.
The number of claims for occupational injuries is five to seven times higher during the first month on the job, regardless of the age group. However, young people change jobs more frequently than older workers and are therefore more likely to find themselves in the position of new worker.
Certain studies reveal integration conditions that are not always easy for young people and work performance conditions that are sometimes more dangerous.
Production requirements and time constraints often impede the transmission of knowledge between experienced workers and recruits.
The presence of certain psychosocial risk factors, such as little decision-making latitude, a lack of support or high demands, as well as an increased workload, is related to an increase in alcohol or drug use among young people.