Saf Health Work.  2014 Sep;5(3):140-146. 10.1016/j.shaw.2014.06.002.

Knowledge and Experiences of Risks among Pupils in Vocational Education

Affiliations
  • 1School of Technology and Business Studies, Dalarna University, Falun, Sweden. ima@du.se
  • 2Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Young male and female workers are over-represented in statistics concerning negative outcomes of poor work environment and risky work. Young workers often have low awareness of risk, a lack of safety training, and inadequate introduction to the work. The aim of this study was to identify the knowledge and experiences of pupils of vocational schools concerning potential work environment risks in their future work.
METHODS
The study design was a dual one, and included a questionnaire and focus group interviews. The study group consisted of 239 pupils from 10 upper secondary schools, who were graduating pupils in four vocational programs: the Industrial Technology Programme, the Restaurant Management and Food Programme, the Transport Programme, and the Handicraft Programme (in which students specialize in wood products). The upper secondary schools were located in the central region of Sweden.
RESULTS
The pupils had limited knowledge that employers must, by law, conduct risk analyses and prevent risks. Many felt that they themselves are mainly responsible for performing their tasks safely. Pupils in all programs mentioned acute risk as the greatest risk at work. The theoretical education about safety at work was provided in the 1st year of the 3-year vocational programs.
CONCLUSION
A systematic approach to pupils' training in work environment, which is a basis for a safe and healthy workplace, is lacking. The study findings indicate that pupils are offered knowledge far from that intended by laws and by state-of-the-art occupational health risk research.

Keyword

introduction at work; risks; vocational education; work environment; young workers
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