Exploring risks faced by child workers in Britain

Sandy Hobbs, Seonaid Anderson, Jim McKechnie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


– The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent of accidents amongst child workers and to test the hypothesis that the tendency to have an accident is related to low perception of risk.

– Over 700 Year 10 school students answered questionnaires concerning their experience of employment. The school students completed another questionnaire in year 11; from these 55 working children were selected to be interviewed and respond to a new tool, the Job Risk Card Sort.

– Whereas 45 per cent of the interviewees had reported having had an accident in the questionnaire, this rose to 80 per cent in the interview. Those who stated in the questionnaire that they had had an accident tended to have lower perception of risk on the card sort than those who did not, thus supporting the hypothesis.

Research limitations/implications
– Previous questionnaire‐based research on accidents amongst young workers may have underestimated their extent. Further investigation of risk perception and accidents should be undertaken with a larger sample and more sophisticated techniques.

Practical implications
– Procedures to safeguard young workers against accidents should be strengthened.

– This is the most detailed study of accidents to child employees so far undertaken in Britain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-185
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Accidents
  • Injuries
  • Children (age groups)
  • Risk assessment
  • United Kingdom


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