Safety learning among young newly employed in three trades – the role of the profession?

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningpeer review

  • Regine Grytnes
  • Johnny Dyreborg, National Research Center for the Working Environment
  • ,
  • Astrid Jørgensen, Nationalt Forskningscenter for Arbejdsmiljø, Danmark
  • Mette Lykke Nielsen, Institut for Læring og Filosofi, Det Humanistiske Fakultet, Aalborg Universitet, Center for Ungdomsforskning, Danmark
Background Young workers aged 18-24 years have an increased risk of injuries at work compared to older workers. This is a problem not only for young workers themselves but also for the society and it lends relevance to the question of how young people learn safe working practices. Safety learning is not achieved through information and campaigns alone; it also involves practical training and mentorship at the specific work place. In this paper an analysis of how induction practices relates to safety learning in three different trades is pursued focusing especially on the role of the professions in relation to safety learning. Theoretical perspective Formalized safety induction practices are defined by canonical as well as non-canonical elements, such as formalized training courses and practical job training. Learning safe practice is understood as an activity, as a form of 'knowing', that is integrated and not separated form the induction practice (Gherardi 2010, p. 515; Hodkinson et al. 2008). Safety learning is thus a part of learning how to do a job and of the process of being recognized as a part of the professional community through debating and discussing the canons of correct ethical and aesthetic practice (Gherardi & Perrotta, 2010). In this paper the term 'profession' covers both skilled and unskilled work. Methods This paper is based on comparative case analysis of induction practices for young workers in elderly care, the metal industry and retail (grocery stores/ supermarkets). Each case study is based on qualitative short- term fieldwork (1-3 days) and in all 98 semi- structured interviews with young employees (apprentices, temporary workers, and student/full time between 18- 24 years of age), their closest colleague/ supervisor and manager. The young employees were 'shadowed' during their first weeks, at their new job. Results The study points to safety learning as a form of competence developed within specific social, technical, as well as discursive work communities. The integration of professional norms in the induction of young employees potentially fosters safety learning. When supported by the young workers colleagues or supervisors induction practices benefitted from this, especially in elderly care and the metal industry. In retail induction practices are largely disconnected from professional norms, in the sense that young workers work tasks are understood to be 'something everyone can do'. Learning safe working practices are shown to be part of canonical and non- canonical professional norms and safety learning is thus an integral part of local and professional induction practices.
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 2017

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