Young workers were twice as likely as older workers to visit emergency rooms for work-related injuries, reported a government agency. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that between 1998-2007 an average of 800,000 young workers (age 15 to 24) had to be treated in emergency departments and around 600 died from injuries sustained on the job each year.
Factors that are believed to put young workers at risk include:
- Exposure to hazards in the workplace such (e.g. ladders)
- Pressure to get the job done
- Minority status
- Lack of proper training
- Not understanding their rights as workers
Industries with the greatest percentage of injuries among young workers are:
- Services 32%
- Construction 28%
- Wholesale and Retail Trade 10%
- Agriculture 10%
To protect young workers and avoid legal issues such as workers' compensation claims, employers should take appropriate steps, including providing training, stressing safe work practices, and complying with occupational safety and health regulations and child labor laws when necessary.