Episode Summary

Today we discuss the safety of younger workers in the workplace. The research paper was brought about because of a finding that workers under the age of 30 are between 60 and 70 percent more likely to be injured on the job.

Episode Notes

While there may be many reasons for this – this particular research paper looks at how younger workers are inducted into the workplace and how they learn about the safety practices and requirements that are expected. The findings are pretty fascinating – especially for people responsible for hiring new employees.


  • Introduction to the research paper
  • Types of questions researchers asked research subjects
  • Literature review
  • How people learn
  • Learning safe practices
  • Industries researched
  • Metalwork
  • Elderly care
  • Retail
  • General inferences
  • Community of practice
  • Gradient towards unsafety

Practical Takeaways:

  • There’s a direct link between employment practices and safety
  • Temporary workers are less likely to follow safety precautions
  • Awareness of safety and how it relates to labor-hire
  • Reflective practice
  • Look at what happens during a new employee’s first week
  • Are your formal and informal induction and onboarding processes aligned to your safety risk profile of the different roles within your organization


“Learning isn’t about uploading knowledge, it’s about creating a sequence of experiences, and each person in the experience, they reflect on that experience, they learn from that, it leads them on to new experiences.” – Drew Rae

“When we induct workers, it’s not just about knowledge transfer, it’s not just about uploading the knowledge they need, it’s about how do we get them to start taking part in discussions and decisions and arguments and thinking about the way work happens.” – Drew Rae

“The one thing that we maybe can maintain is the formal standards that we communicate in the induction in the hope that creating some of that tension, creates discussion.” – David Provan

“Onboarding a person into the workplace is an investment in the person, so people are maybe likely to invest more if there’s more return.”  – David Provan


Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab

The Safety of Work Podcast

Research Paper Discussed