Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
In Denmark, many people start working at a young age, between 13-17 years, and a large proportion of these are employed in the retail sector. It has been well documented that youth workers are injured more at work than their older colleagues, possibly because of their inexperience in a working environment. In this study, a youth work environment organization at the workplace among youth workers (15-17 years) in the retail industry will be introduced. This programme will offer youth workers an early introduction to a safe and healthy work life and good work environment practice. The working conditions for youth workers are covered in a special regulation in Denmark (The Danish Ministry of Employment). The aim of this study is to strengthen the ability of companies in the retail industry to ensure a healthy work environment for employed youth workers by introducing a youth work environment organization.
Who can participate?
Youth workers aged between 15 and 17 who work in a participating COOP.
What does the study involve?
All participants are asked to answer questionnaires about work environment and health-related factors, and participate in the study program at their workplace. The participating COOPS are then randomly allocated to one of two groups, the first of which begins the program immediately, and the second begins the program one year later. The program begins with a meeting with the management, which lasts for around one hour, in which the process of the program is explained. After this, a three-hour workshop is help for youth workers, management and work environment representatives where the aim is to introduce and teach the youth workers about the work environment (e.g. work safety issues). Following the workshop, a youth work environment organization is established at the workplace that consists of two youth workers and a work environment representative from the convenience store. The youth work environment organization reports to the existing work environment organization within the convenience store, but acts as an independent organization. The youth work environment organization has the responsibility to prioritize among work environment issues and solutions for youth workers, as well as creating awareness and knowledge about the work environment among youth workers. Action plans are made, and at 3-4 meetings (of approximately 2-3 hours each) the youth work environment organization adjusts the plans if needed and report to the other youth workers. A final evaluation meeting will be held after approximately ten weeks, lasting for two hours. After one year (when the first group has undertaken the program) and then two years (when the second group has also undertaken the program) participants in both groups complete a number of questionnaires to test their knowledge and the effects the program has had on the work environment.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
This study will benefit participants by creating more awareness of work environment among youth workers and increasing their knowledge of how to have a safe and healthy work life, which could potentially reduce injuries. Participants also benefit from learning about work environment practice, which will be useful regardless of which job types they may acquire later on in life. There are no notable risks involved with participating in this study.
Where is the study run from?
14 COOP convenience stores (Denmark)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
September 2015 to December 2017
Who is funding the study?
The Danish Work Environment Research Fund (Denmark)
Who is the main contact?
1. Dr Charlotte Rasmussen (scientific)
2. Dr Sisse Grøn (scientific)
3. Dr Marie Birk Jørgensen (scientific)
Dr Charlotte Rasmussen
The National Research Centre for Working Environment
Lersø Parkalle 105
+45 39 16 54 66
Dr Sisse Grøn
+45 29 43 64 21
Dr Marie Birk Jørgensen
The National Research Centre for Working Environment
Lersø Parkalle 105
+45 39 16 53 46
Introducing a “youth work environment organization” at the workplace – a cluster randomized controlled trial among youth workers (15-17 years) in the retail industry
An intervention with establishment of a youth work environment organization at the workplace will:
1. Improve the youth workers’ influence on the work environment compared to a control group receiving no intervention
2. Improve the youth workers’ knowledge of the work environment compared to a control group receiving no intervention
The project has been approved by the Danish Data Protection Agency. The local ethics committee has evaluated a description of the study and concluded that, according to Danish law as defined in Committee Act § 2, 1, an organizational intervention evaluated merely by questionnaires should not be further reported to the local ethics committee. (Ref number: 15017708)
Waitlist controlled cluster randomised trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Cluster randomised trial
Patient information sheet
No participant information sheet available
Safety training for young workers
Participating convenience stores will be randomised to either the intervention or control/wait-list arms of the trial. Participating convenience stores will be informed of their allocation to intervention or control group by researchers before the beginning of baseline surveys. The intervention lasts one year. Over this year, the intervention activities will be repeated twice at each workplace. This is due to a high turnover among the youth workers, and to make the intervention more feasible and sustainable for the convenience stores.
Intervention group: Over a period of ten weeks several activities will be carried out. The intervention is based on a participatory approach. First, a meeting with the management will be held (1 hour). At this meeting the further process will be planned. Second, a workshop will be held for youth workers, management and work environment representatives where the aim is to introduce and teach the youth workers about the work environment (e.g. what is work environment issues (safety, ergonomics, and psychosocial factors etc.)) (3 hours). Then a youth work environment organization will be established at the workplace that consists of two youth workers and a work environment representative from the convenience store. The youth work environment organization will report to the existing work environment organization within the convenience store, but act as an independent organization. The youth work environment organization has the responsibility to prioritize among work environment issues and solutions for youth workers, as well as creating awareness and knowledge about the work environment among youth workers. Action plans will be made, and at 3-4 meetings (of approximately 2-3 hours each) the youth work environment organization will adjust the plans if needed and report to the other youth workers. A final evaluation meeting will be held after approximately ten weeks (2 hours). After the ten weeks, the convenience stores will have no planned activities for a period of approximately 3 months. After that period the intervention activities will be repeated again for a period of ten weeks followed by a period with no planned activities. The final evaluation of the intervention will be held after one year.
Control group: While in this group no other interventions will be offered. This group will then receive the intervention after one year.
Both the intervention group and the control group will be followed up with questionnaires after the control group has received the intervention (at 2 years follow-up). It is expected that during this time, the first intervention group continue will with the intervention in this period.
All participants, both intervention and control group will receive an electronic questionnaire at follow-up (which they can fill out during working hours) after one and two years.
Primary outcome measure
Influence on the work environment among youth workers measured by electronic questionnaire at baseline, one and two years.
Secondary outcome measures
1. Knowledge of work environment issues among youth workers measured by electronic questionnaire at baseline, one and two years
2. The work environment organization’s knowledge of work environment issues among youth workers measured by electronic questionnaire at baseline, one and two years
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant recruitment issue
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Female and male youth workers
2. Aged 15-17 years
3. From 14 recruited convenience stores
Target number of participants
The target number of participants will be approximately 300 youth workers.
Participant exclusion criteria
Not being a youth worker.
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
COOP (14 convenience stores)
The National Research Centre for The Working Environment
Lersø Parkalle 105
+45 39 16 52 00
+45 38 34 50 34
The Danish Work Environment Research Fund
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Planned publication in a high-impact peer reviewed journal.
2018 results presented at the 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association in https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-96089-0_39
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Available on request
Basic results (scientific)