Summer is coming; are you watching out for working teens?
In one study, NIOSH found an estimated 64,100 adolescents (aged 14-17) were treated in emergency departments for workplace injuries in 1992. And this figure probably low-balls the number of incidents, since only 36 percent of work-related injuries are treated in emergency departments, according to NIOSH.
In a separate study of workplace deaths, NIOSH reported 670 16-and 17-year-olds died at work in the 10-year period 1980-1989. Of those fatalities, 44 percent occurred during the summer months (June through August).
Most deaths occurred in the agriculture/forestry/fishing, construction, services, retail trade, and manufacturing industries, according to available information.
Most injuries to adolescent workers occurred in the retail trade industry, with 71 percent of adolescent injuries in this industry occurring in eating and drinking establishments. Many of these injuries were lacerations and burns.
To prevent job-related adolescent injuries, NIOSH says hazards must be identified and intervention strategies specific to adolescents must be developed and put into place. For example, implementing methods to prevent burns in eating and drinking establishments could prevent about 5,650 adolescent occupational burns each year, according to NIOSH.