Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Epidemiology and Population Health

Committee Chair

Zierold, Kristina M.

Author's Keywords

Occupational safety; Adolescent workers; Safety training; Hazardous tasks; Child labor laws; Teenagers


Youth--Employment; Teenagers--Health and hygiene; Industrial safety; Safety education, Industrial


Teenaged workers are twice as likely to be injured on the job as adult workers, and face a number of differences developmentally and psychosocially that present challenges for their safety at work. Little research has focused on the tasks that teenagers perform at work and what factors mediate their performance of hazardous tasks and tasks prohibited by law. Data used for this thesis was collected through a survey of 884 teenagers enrolled at two public high schools in Louisville, Kentucky in Spring 2011. Focus groups and interviews were also conducted with 42 employed teenagers in Spring 2010 to provide qualitative data. Demographic, behavioral, and work-related factors associated with performing of tasks that are hazardous or prohibited are discussed. Additionally, the impacts of safety training methods, lessons, and length on performance of these tasks are examined. Important findings include new insights into the role of race in teens' safety at work as well as the novel finding that longer safety training is associated with lower proportions of teens performing hazardous and dangerous tasks. Implications of the results are discussed.