Occupational safety and health interventions to protect young workers from hazardous work – A scoping review

Martha Sámano-Ríos, Sharea Ijaz, Jani Ruotsalainen, Curtis Breslin, Karl Gummesson, Jos Verbeek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
239 Downloads (Pure)


Occupational injury rates are higher among young people when compared to older age groups. 


Identifying preventive occupational safety and health interventions that aim at protecting young workers from hazards at work while considering their ongoing physical and mental maturation. 


We ran a sensitive search strategy in twelve electronic databases to locate studies. Two review authors independently screened titles and abstracts, and later full texts for eligibility. One person extracted the details of studies and another checked for errors. Data were analyzed in an iterative process. 


We included 39 studies. Three studies evaluated environmental interventions, 29 evaluated behavioral, one evaluated clinical and six combined more than one type of intervention. Developmental characteristics of young workers that could contribute to risk were addressed in 13 studies. Thirty-five studies were from high income countries, one was from an upper middle-income country and three were from lower middle- income countries. We found no studies from low income countries. 


There is a dearth of evidence when it comes to evaluating interventions in low and lower middle income countries and adapting interventions developed in high income countries to the needs of low and middle income ones. A higher and more integrated participation of young workers themselves, parents and other key social actors such as policy makers, employers and occupational safety and health regulators is required to optimally protect young workers. We recommend developing and evaluating interventions that specifically address the risks that youth face at work due to their ongoing developmental process. Further we need systematic reviews of the interventions identified in this review such as for young workers in the service sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-403
Number of pages15
JournalSafety Science
Early online date21 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Hazardous work
  • Occupational health
  • Preventive interventions
  • Protect
  • Safety
  • Young workers


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