Young workers out of school, with no diploma, more likely to be injured

In brief

  • Young workers who are not in school have higher injury rates.
  • Additional workplace training programs conducted outside of the formal school system should be considered.

Published: January 2008

Why was this study done?

This study explored work-related injury rates among different groups of young workers, based on whether they were out of school or working while at school. Researchers also considered injury rates in relation to education level. They looked at rates among those who had a high school diploma, versus those with no high school diploma. Work safety education programs are often conducted in high schools and colleges, but these programs may not reach those who leave school early and join the workforce.

How was the study done?

The researchers used information from the Canadian Community Health Survey to compare injury rates. This national health survey, conducted in 2000 and 2001, included questions about work injury, occupation, education, job type and number of hours worked. A total of 12,506 people ages 15 to 24 were included in the analysis.

What did the researchers find?

The work-related injury rate for young people who were out of school and who did not have a high school diploma was three times higher than those in some type of educational program who had also graduated from high school. For young workers who had a high school diploma but were not in school, the injury rates were almost double compared with those still in school with a diploma. Age, type of shift and the number of hours of worked were not factors for injury risk.

What are some strengths and weaknesses of the study?

The survey involved a large number of young workers from across Canada. It likely represents the experiences of all young workers well. However, the findings are based on reports by young workers who may not recall events or injuries accurately.