CIVIL ENGINEERING 365 ALL ABOUT CIVIL ENGINEERING



AbstractManaging effective apprentice programs is central to addressing the challenges posed by an aging workforce and skill shortages in the construction industry. However, the appeal of construction apprentice programs has declined among the youth. Research showed that young workers could face higher occupational health and safety (OHS) risks in the construction industry, which could be perceived as barriers to attracting and retaining them in construction apprentice programs. Curtailing OHS risks is therefore imperative to sustaining apprentice programs. However, there is limited evidence on vulnerable trades, predominant incident mechanisms, and injury types concerning OHS risk for apprentices. Workers’ compensation data related to construction apprentices between 2008 and 2019 (12 years), were empirically analyzed. Despite the overconcern, the incident proportion of 7% for construction apprentices was lower than their representation of 11% in the workforce. Thirteen fatalities have occurred for the period, and predominant mechanisms were vehicle incidents, electrocution, and fall from a height. Additionally, a range of musculoskeletal diseases due to muscular stress was responsible for permanent incapacities among apprentices. Apprentices who trained as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, bricklayers, and structural steel workers were more vulnerable to fatalities and permanent incapacities. The findings offer practical insights for a focused and optimized OHS management scheme for regaining and improving the appeal of construction apprentice programs. Although the findings and the insights drawn thereof are specific to Australia, these may also apply to other countries where construction apprentice programs are similar.



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