Teens Twice as Likely to be Injured on the Job

Teens Twice as Likely to be Injured on the Job

Working is a rite of passage. Finding a job, earning money, budgeting, time management, being responsible for your actions – having and maintaining a job as a teenager is a character building experience unlike any other. There are important, life-long lessons in understanding the value of a dollar earned, as well as of a job well done. Some families even depend on the income of their teenagers to help make ends meet. In fact, over one million teens currently make up part of the U.S. workforce, and it has been estimated that 80 percent of teens have had a job by the time they graduate from high school.

Entering the workforce is not without its risks, however. The enthusiasm of new workers is easily overshadowed by their inexperience, which can result in serious safety issues. Research has shown that teens are twice as likely as their adult counterparts to be injured on the job. Kids might have a reputation for feeling invincible, and while that may be a fair stereotype to assign, their lack of familiarity with many workplace tasks makes them vulnerable to workplace hazards.

Just four years ago, 335 young people were killed at work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) projects that a teenager gets hurt on the job every 9 minutes in this country. Our nation’s youth have a good grip on what their basic human rights are, but when it comes to when and how to stand up for themselves at work, and what their employers are required to do for them, for example, they aren’t so sure. They’re often reluctant to speak up for themselves and afraid to challenge their bosses.

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), a nonprofit dedicated to educating workers and the public about workplace safety, is on a mission to help raise awareness among teens. AIHA has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to develop a program called “Safety Matters.” The program teaches basic skills that help young people work effectively as part of a safe environment. In 2010, the organization assisted Texas in drafting a bill encouraging educators and school districts to include workplace safety training in the curriculum for grades 7 through 12. Since then, the initiative has been made into law and state leaders are working on implementation. The hope is that workplace safety for teens will increase and that other states will follow suit with comparable legislation.

NIOSH spearheaded and announced earlier this summer the start of the Youth@Work — Talking Safety curriculum. While each state has a set of guidelines that adhere to specific labor laws, this is a new national program designed to educate people on workplace safety for teens. The curriculum is meant to be used right in the classroom, or in another kind of group setting, to help kids identify workplace hazards and learn how to speak up when they feel their safety is being compromised.

If you have any questions about this topic, have been hurt on the job, or think your workers’ compensation benefits have been wrongly applied or denied, find out more by discussing it with one of the attorneys at The Mann Law Firm. We have over 50 years of experience helping people, and we can help you. Based in Macon, we proudly serve communities throughout Georgia. Contact us by calling (478) 742-3381 or by filling out our online form.