Safety learning among young newly employed workers in three sectors: A challenge to the assumed order of things

Tidsskriftartikel - 2021

Resume

Despite efforts to reduce risk by providing young workers with safety knowledge and direct them to ways of working safe, injury rates are still relatively high in this group, which point to shortcomings in the understanding of the mechanisms that are important for safety learning. Therefore, in this article we will explore the mechanisms that are involved in safety learning of young newly employed workers. We draw on data from (participant) observation with 33 young workers during their first three months at work in the metal work sector, in elderly care, and in the retail sector. The analysis point to safety learning among young newly employed workers as more than a question about giving them information about safety issues. Through experiential learning, the formal safety information they are given is at times overturned, filtered through the everyday dilemmas of the work and through normalisations of risky practices at the workplace. The results point to safety learning as an integral part of the way that these workers are inducted to and engaged in the everyday dilemmas and handling of tasks at the workplace, such as helping colleagues or debating the correct ways of doing the job. Without being trained through debating and discussing the canons and practical application of correct practice, further reduction of risks and thereby injuries at work will potentially be difficult to achieve. Following this, reducing the risk of injury among young workers must largely be based on improvements targeted not only new young workers, but in the organisational safety practice as such. This will potentially improve the safety of new workers as well as senior employees in the workplace.

Reference

Grytnes R, Nielsen ML, Jørgensen A, Dyreborg J. Safety learning among young newly employed workers in three sectors: A challenge to the assumed order of things. Safety Science 2021;143:105417.
doi: 10.1016/j.ssci.2021.105417

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