CROET Summer Intern: Young Worker Training

Intern Kari Nilsen presents her poster to SAIF's Chuck Easterly.

I was an intern at CROET this past summer, working in the lab of Diane Rohlman.  My project was to create a lesson plan about worker safety specifically geared towards young workers using videos submitted by high school students in Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition’s (O[yes]) “Speak Up!” video contest.

By researching effective training methods and reviewing existing curricula on worker safety, I created an hour long engaging and interactive lesson plan which included four videos from the contest. Through my research on young worker attitudes about the work environment and work-related injuries, I learned that most young workers are too nervous to act up and protect themselves at work, even though legal workplace safety protections exist.  Based on my research, I felt that self-advocacy was the major missing piece as to why young workers are injured significantly more than workers over the age of 24.  I geared my lessons toward including information and activities to increase students’ emotional intelligence.  Emotional intelligence is the ability to blend thinking and feeling to enhance decision-making and communication. Ideally, this skill helps us better recognize when we feel uncomfortable, perhaps because we aren’t safe enough, and to more effectively problem-solve with coworkers and bosses to advocate for a safer workplace.

The lesson plan includes information and discussion on how to recognize and control hazards, how to deliver constructive criticism to your coworkers and how to problem solve with your boss with a video corresponding to each segment.  Through a study that I created, recruited for and conducted I found that my lesson plan was more successful in increasing knowledge about safety than solely viewing the contest videos on youtube. Participants also enjoyed my lesson plan more than simply passively watching the videos.  At the end of this rewarding experience I created a poster reporting the results of my study and possible implications.

Thanks CROET for this wonderful experience!

Submitted by: Kari Nilsen
Senior at Graceland University
Chemistry Major, Biology and Psychology Minor
From Portland, OR

Learn more about CROET’s Summer Intern Program.
Learn more about O[yes].
Learn more about NIOSH’s Youth at Work: Talking Safety Oregon.


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About the Author

Dede supports the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences and the Oregon Healthy WorkForce Center's research, engagement and education programs. She is a certified industrial hygienist.

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