Young worker safety in construction: do family ties and workgroup size affect hazard exposures and safety practices?
OBJECTIVE: Little is known about how social aspects of the work environment influence exposures or safety practices affecting young construction workers. Our objective was to investigate whether working on a construction site with a small number of workers (≤10 vs. 11-50) or having a family-firm connection (working in a family-owned firm or one in which a family member also works) impacts hazard exposures and safety practices. PARTICIPANTS: Participants included 187 North Carolina construction workers 14 to 17 years old who were surveyed about their jobs. METHODS: We conducted stratified analyses using cross-tabulations and chi-square statistics to measure associations between workgroup size (i.e., the total number of workers on a jobsite) and family-firm connections (yes/no) and hazard exposures (e.g., saws) and safety practices (e.g., supervision). RESULTS: Having a family-firm connection was associated with fewer hazard exposures and greater safety practices. Youth who worked on jobsites with a larger workgroup (11-50 workers) reported more hazards but also more safety practices. CONCLUSIONS: Family-firm connections, in particular, may have a protective effect for youth in construction. Even though the statistical significance of our findings on workgroup size was limited in places, the pattern of differences found suggest that further research in this area is warranted.
Rauscher, KJ; Myers, DJ; Runyan, CW; Schulman, M
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