Curriculum improves adolescents’ workplace safety knowledge, attitudes, and intention to engage in safety activities
After receiving instruction on the Talking Safetycurriculum, adolescents participating in a NIOSH study scored statistically significantly higher on measures of workplace safety and health knowledge, attitude, and intention to engage in workplace safety activities.
U.S. adolescents (< 18 years) experience a higher rate of job-related injuries compared with adults. Safety education is considered critical to the prevention of these incidents.
To prepare middle- and high-school students for safe and healthy employment, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and its partners developed a free curriculum, Youth@Work—Talking Safety, built on a theoretical framework of foundational workplace safety and health competencies that are fundamental to all jobs. In a new study published in Prevention Scienceexternal iconinvestigators from the NIOSH Safe-Skilled-Ready Workforce Programexamined the impact of the Talking Safety curriculum on students’ knowledge and perceptions of workplace safety and health. The curriculum was delivered by science teachers with strict adherence to the program as it was designed by NIOSH. After receiving curriculum instruction, more than 1,700 eighth graders in Miami-Dade, Florida, the fourth largest U.S. school district, scored statistically significantly higher on the outcomes assessed. Specifically, their average scores increased in workplace safety knowledge (34%); attitude (5%); perceived norms related to workplace safety behaviors (7%); self-efficacy, or confidence in one’s ability to take appropriate action (7%); and behavioral intention to engage in workplace safety activities (7%).
These findings build on previous research by the same investigators and support using this curriculum to provide adolescents with critical life skills for safe and healthy work. A new article from the research team published in the Journal of School Health explores teachers’ perceptions of teaching workplace safety and health topics in their classrooms.
More information on teen worker safety:
- Preparing Teens to Stay Safe and Healthy on the Job: A Multilevel Evaluation of the Talking Safety Curriculum for Middle Schools and High Schoolsexternal icon
- Using a Modified Theory of Planned Behavior to Examine Adolescents’ Workplace Safety and Health Knowledge, Perceptions, and Behavioral Intention: A Structural Equation Modeling Approachpdf iconexternal icon
- NIOSH Safe-Skilled-Ready Workforce Program