Defining novice workers

Jonathon Ehsani, Joseph Ibrahim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This article identifies contemporary definitions of novice workers and, using three fictional case studies, discusses the complexity of defining novices. Currently, novices are defined according to age, experience or job tenure. Their common experience is the novitiate: the period of time in which they adjust to and master a new task, role or environment. Existing definitions do not comprehensively capture this construct. The ideal alternative is defining a novice through the assessment of competencies related to key work duties. This is yet to become an established norm across industries. Another approach is a composite measure, combining the variables of job tenure, age and experience. Available Australian data sources are limited to routinely capturing "age" at time of injury. While recognising the limitations of using age as a proxy for the novice worker, it offers a practical opportunity for better understanding the risk factors and injury rates of a segment of this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-415
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Occupational Health and Safety - Australia and New Zealand
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Definitions
  • Injuries
  • Novice workers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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