A commentary on the unique developmental considerations of youth: Integrating the teenage cortex into the occupational health and safety context

F Curtis Breslin, Peter Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOther

6 Citations (Scopus)


This commentary responds to Sudhinaraset and Blum's article in this issue, and seeks to integrate a growing body of development research into existing occupational health and safety (OHS) research, policy and practice. We suggest that it is useful to distinguish between research questions regarding minimum age restrictions for hazardous tasks and jobs from research questions about the degree to which developmental factors contribute to elevated work injury risk for youth compared to adults. Epidemiological evidence indicates that known OHS risk factors adversely affect workers of all ages to a similar extent; a balanced approach is needed to integrate emerging developmental research with existing epidemiological research so that the abilities of young workers are not prejudged solely on the basis of age and brain maturation. Further, the heterogeneity of cognitive and self-regulatory functioning at any age suggests that architectural principles of Universal Design be employed in OHS training and hazard reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-229
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescence
  • Adolescent workers
  • Epidemiology
  • North America
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Public health
  • Universal Design Principles

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