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Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer says untrained teens in summer jobs are an injury risk

Julia MunleyWith the end of the school year upon us, many young people are taking on summer jobs. According to the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), Young workers, ages 14-24, are at a high risk of workplace injury because of their inexperience at work and their physical, cognitive and emotional developmental characteristics. They often hesitate to ask questions and may fail to recognize workplace dangers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 80% of high school students work at least sometime throughout the course of a year, with many working during the summer. Young workers are employed in various industries and may engage in tasks that expose them to different workplace hazards, including operating dangerous tools, machinery, and vehicles, and handling cash in settings prone to robbery. Employers many not fully understand the laws or they may not recognize that these inexperienced workers need special attention.

In the U.S., young workers are protected from work-related safety and health hazards by two sets of laws. Young workers are protected by occupational safety and health regulations which apply to youth as well as adult workers, and children and adolescents under 18 years of age are afforded additional protection through child labor laws. Child labor laws identify the types of work that youth are allowed and not allowed to do, as well as work hours.

A 2012 CDC study entitled Health and Safety of Young Workers found that most youth workers in the U.S. are employed in the services and trade sectors, with lesser numbers working in healthcare, construction, agriculture and other sectors. 59% of all employed 16- and 17-year-olds were employed in food services and retail trade in 2011. The study also reported that in 2012, 34 youth less than 18 years of age died from injuries sustained at work in the U.S. Nearly half were younger than 16-years of age. That same year, an estimated 26,600 youth less than 18 were treated in emergency departments for work related injuries. There were four times as many work-related fatalities in the agriculture industry as any other, with nearly 60% of the deaths of youth in that industry occurring on family farms. The study also found that youth working in construction were seven times more likely to die on the job than their peers working in other industries.

In summary, the study found that clerical work provided the highest quality employment experience for adolescents, while fast food appeared to be the industry causing the highest level of stress for young workers.

When properly trained and supervised, a summer job can be a wonderful experience for a teen. Earning a first paycheck is one of the most memorable events for a young teen and teaches a valuable lesson about hard work. Work experience is a critical component of preparing youth for adulthood, and summer jobs also help teens to stay engaged, learn new skills and about responsibility. Be sure that your teen is working in a safe environment this summer and has received the proper training needed to reduce the chances of workplace injury.

If you or your child has been injured at work and you need someone to fight for you, call Caroline Munley and the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys.

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