The Journal of Safety Research a has published a new article on injury among young Canadian workers (< age 25). “Work-relatedinjury underreporting among young workers: Prevalence, gender differences, andexplanations for underreporting” found that 21% of respondents reported experiencing a lost-time injury during their careers.
Of those indicating a lost-time claim, 27% did not report their injury to either a doctor or their employer (or both). Male respondents were more likely to not report and injury than female respondents. Non-reporting was justified in a number of ways, including low severity (81%), expected reaction of others (3%), repeated, lagged or non-attributable injury (3%), lack of knowledge (2%), blamed self (2%) and too much effort to report (2%).
There are a number of limitations with the study. Its value is it provides further evidence that (1) the employment of young persons is hazardous and (2) that even serious (time-loss) injuries go unreported. This is important as Alberta considers changes to its Employment Standards Code which include expanding the types of jobs that adolescents (12-14) can do (e.g., janitorial work) and reducing the safeguards associated with such work (e.g., safety checklists in the restaurant industry).
-- Bob Barnetson