According to information provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are approximately 18 million workers under the age of 24 years in the United States. This number represents about 13 percent of the total workforce, but these workers have some of the highest occupational injury rates. The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) reports that 80 percent of teens are employed at some time during their high school years.
In 2004, more than 38,000 teen workers suffered an injury at work, and 134 teen workers died from on the job accidents and injuries. Each year, it is estimated that 70 teen workers die from work-related injuries and another 77,000 teen workers are sent to the emergency room for work-related accidents and injuries.
While a part-time job teaches valuable lessons about managing time and money in addition to providing “real world” work experience, teens must be careful to avoid workplace injuries that can cut their career short before they even graduate. Parents and employers need to be aware of the workplace dangers and educate teen workers on how to avoid accidents and injuries.
Why Are Teens at A High Risk for Workplace Injuries?
One reason teens have a high risk of workplace injury has to do with the type of job most teens have during high school. Many teens work in the food industry which has a high risk of injury from falls, cooking equipment, and cutlery. Balancing school and work often results in a teen worker being fatigued while at work. A fatigued or drowsy teen worker is at a higher risk of being injured because of a lack of focus due to the fatigue.
Another common reason for workplace injuries for teen workers is simply inexperience. Teen workers don’t have the same experience as older workers and don’t understand the dangers posed by certain tasks. In addition, a teen worker’s cognitive abilities and strength may not be sufficient to handle some job tasks.
Protecting Teen Workers
Parents of teen workers need to take an active role when their child is searching for a job. Because your teen worker may not know what questions to ask, you need to be aware of the requirements of the job to ensure your child can perform the tasks safely. You also need to know if the workplace is a safe environment for your teen worker and if the employer provides safety gear and safety training. The ASSE provides questions you should ask potential employers, a list of common injuries and how to avoid them, and a short workplace safety quiz on its website.
For more information about teenagers in the workforce, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s “Youth Rules!” website. OSHA also has a website dedicated to young workers.
Call A Boca Raton Workers’ Comp Attorney
If your teen worker is injured on the job, he or she has rights under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws. For more information or to schedule a free legal consultation with a Florida workers’ comp attorney, call The Broderick Law Firm, P.L. at 1-800-333-3903.