Occupational health and safety education for youth : the process of constructing knowledge in the high-school curriculum

Baqee, Sumaiya (2012) Occupational health and safety education for youth : the process of constructing knowledge in the high-school curriculum. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

In 1998 the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) introduced the Workplace Safety 3220 course to the provincial high school curriculum. Similar to occupational health and safety (OHS) courses introduced in other jurisdictions, this elective course aims to reduce occupational accidents and injuries among young workers. It is the first OHS curriculum that has been designed specifically for young workers in Newfoundland and Labrador. In this thesis I describe the findings of my MA research, which examined the ways in which health and safety knowledge is constructed in the high school curriculum. I used a multi-methods approach to examine the content of the Workplace Safety 3220 course. My findings reveal certain assumptions, biases and omissions embedded within the curriculum about what OHS means, and how it is experienced by different types of workers. The curriculum uses a technical and scientific approach to present the OHS knowledge, on rules, regulations, rights and responsibilities in relation to various types of occupational hazards. By using this technical and scientific approach, the curriculum does not effectively capture workers' experiences of OHS or how the socio-economic and organizational contexts mediate accidents, injuries and management responses to these. There is a bias in the curriculum towards the OHS issues associated with blue-collar, industrial work, which is dominated by adults and male workers. The work that youth and women do is underrepresented, as are white-collar and pink-collar occupations, and occupations in rural and non-industrialized areas. Using a social constructivist approach, I argue that these findings reflect the impact on the curriculum of power relations and struggles within the government and of wider socio-economic structures, such as public and private institutions, businesses, and the education system. As a consequence to these biases and omission in the curriculum, young workers and female workers in particular are left in a disadvantaged position within the OHS curriculum. I argue that one of the first steps to subverting these power relations and power struggles is to examine textual knowledge and bring to light how such knowledge is produced.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6083
Item ID: 6083
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 144-158).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: 2012
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Safety education, Industrial--Curricula; Industrial safety--Study and teaching (Secondary)--Social aspects; Youth workers--Training of

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