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Young workers' occupational safety and health risks in the Nordic countries

image of Young workers' occupational safety and health risks in the Nordic countries

An attractive working environment that is inclusive and prevents work-related health problems is important to ensure that as many as possible can participate in the working life. During the Swedish presidency in the Nordic Council of Ministers 2013, the focus is on youth. This also includes the working conditions of young workers. This report has been prepared for a conference that is held in October 2013 by the Swedish Presidency of cooperation with the Swedish ILO Committee and The Nordic Institute for Advanced Training in Occupational Health (NIVA). The objective of the report is to provide important new insight into understanding and preventing young workers’ occupational safety and health (OSH) risks in the Nordic countries. The report provides a brief overview of the context of youth employment and its legal framework, the sectors young workers are employed in, the occupational safety and health hazards they are exposed to and the nature of their injuries and health outcomes.

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Youth employment by gender, age and sector

Recent Census and Labour Force Survey data (OECD.org) for 2012 show great differences in the employment rates of young people aged 15–19 in the Nordic countries, varying from 19% in Sweden to 59% in Iceland (Table 2). The employment rates are generally higher for young women aged 15–19 than for men aged 15–19. The rates for 20–24 year olds are more similar, ranging from 58% in Sweden to 72% in Iceland. In terms of the percentage of total labour force employment (age 15–64) in 2012, young workers (15–24) account for 10–17% of employment: Denmark (♂14%, ♀15%), Finland (♂12%, ♀12%), Iceland (♂16%, ♀17%), Norway (♂13%, ♀15%) and Sweden(♂10%, ♀12%).

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