The practical potential of self-advocacy for improving safety outcomes for school-aged workers

Grant-Smith, Deanna & McDonald, Paula K. (2015) The practical potential of self-advocacy for improving safety outcomes for school-aged workers. Journal of Youth Studies, 18(10), pp. 1257-1273.

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Young workers are over-represented in workplace injury statistics and there is growing interest in addressing their vulnerability and safety exposure. Such concerns have been raised within a broader discursive framework of responsibilisation which has seen a transfer of responsibility for workplace safety from employer to worker. This article examines the potential for self-advocacy as a strategy for improving the safety of young workers through the provision of resources to articulate and act on workplace rights. The study utilises data derived from 48 group interviews involving 216 high school students (13–16 years of age) at 19 high schools in Queensland, Australia, who were asked to discuss their knowledge and experience of workplace rights and responsibilities. The limitations of the safety self-advocacy approach are explored, including the social, developmental and organisational issues that might affect the ability or willingness of school-aged workers to self-advocate. The findings reveal that the notion of self-advocacy is internalised by young people before they even enter the formal labour market but that in practice, attempts by young people to enact rights to safety are often dismissed or undermined.

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ID Code: 85890
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Work, Employment, Safety Self-advocacy, Responsibilisation, Student Workers
DOI: 10.1080/13676261.2015.1039966
ISSN: 1469-9680
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Industrial Relations (150306)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Deposited On: 21 Jul 2015 23:06
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2015 01:44

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