The relationship between work permits, injury, and safety training among working teenagers


  • Kristina M. Zierold PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    • Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157.
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  • Henry Anderson MD

    1. Wisconsin Division of Public Health, Bureau of Occupational Health, Madison, Wisconsin
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No information exists on the differences between teenagers with work permits and teenagers without work permits in regards to workplace injury, near-miss incidents, and safety training.


In May 2003, an anonymous questionnaire was administered to 7,506 teens attending high school throughout the five public health regions of Wisconsin. All students in the participating school districts were invited to respond. The questionnaire included questions about employment, injury, safety and health training, and school performance.


Overall, 6,382 teens participated in the survey and 49% reported working during the school year. Seventy percent of all working teens reported having a permit. Females were more likely to have work permits compared with males (71% vs. 68%, P = 0.018). The percentages of teens with permits varied by job and ranged from 55% for teens working in tree-trimming/cutting to 85% for teens working in restaurants or fast food establishments. Teens with work permits were no less likely to be injured than those without permits (AOR = 1.07, 95% CI: 0.85–1.33) and no less likely to have a near-miss incident (AOR = 1.28, 95% CI: 0.99–1.63). However, teens with permits were significantly more likely to be given safety training than teens without permits (AOR = 2.61, 95% CI: 2.21–3.10).


Although teens with work permits were more likely to report receiving safety training than teens without permits, the occurrence of injury was no different among the groups. Am. J. Ind. Med. 49:360–366, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.