Background: The objective was to examine the incidence of work accidents that required medical attention among Danish adolescents and to identify possible work environment factors associated with such accidents.
Methods: We collected information in two questionnaire rounds (2004 and 2007) from a birth cohort comprising all adolescents born in 1989 (n = 3,687) living in Ringkjøbing County, Denmark. The questionnaire contained items on self-reported number of accidents and number of working hours in both rounds and on work environment factors in the second round.
Results: Approximately 5% of the adolescents who held a job, experienced a work injury at the age of 17. This equals an incidence of 65 accidents per million working hours. Most adolescents had decent working conditions, although nearly half reported that their work was heavy, monotonous or psychologically demanding. Heavy work, high psychological demands and low social support increased the risk of experiencing work injuries after adjustment for a number of factors.
Conclusions: The incidence of work injuries among adolescents appears to be higher than the incidence among their older colleagues. Lack of social support from management significantly raised adolescents' risk of experiencing a work injury. This suggests that more direct supervision may be a good way of preventing accidents in this age group.
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