Findings from six recent fatality reports by NIOSH show the need to protect teen workers from workplace hazards. The reports describe six adolescent worker fatalities in diverse industries, including:

  • A 16-year-old farm worker who died in a cotton-packing machine after being covered by a 3,500-pound load of cotton.

  • A 16-year-old amusement-park attendant who died after being caught and dragged across a concrete floor by an operating amusement ride.

  • A 15-year-old campground laborer who died after striking a trailer hitch on a camper while operating a utility vehicle in morning clean-up duties.

  • Two 17-year-old construction laborers who died in separate incidents when the sides of trenches collapsed on them.

  • A 16-year-old warehouse laborer who died after falling from and being caught under an overturning forklift.

Each year, between 60 and 70 adolescents die from work-related injuries, hundreds more are hospitalized, and tens of thousands require treatment in hospital emergency rooms.

To prevent death and serious injury to teen workers, NIOSH recommends that employers know the laws covering child labor and safety, and that they provide safe employment and adequate supervision. Parents should take an active interest in their children's employment decisions, and educators should consider safety when signing work permits and preparing young people for work. Medical providers should take work histories, note employment information on medical records, and provide young workers with safety information.