A national study to interview teenagers about on-the-job dangers found many violations of federal laws, including teens performing risky tasks.

Many teens said they operated hazardous equipment, received no safety training and worked alone after dark, making them potential targets for burglary and homicide. "Teenagers are being put in the position of doing tasks that are either illegal or dangerous," lead author Carol Runyan of the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center, told the Associated Press.

The telephone survey found that only two thirds of teens had received safety training on the job.

Most federal violations uncovered were based on the age of the workers, who by law are not permitted to work after 7 p.m. if they are under 16 and are barred from certain hazardous tasks such as operating dough mixers, power slicers or box crushers.

According to federal statistics, hundreds of thousands of U.S. teenagers are injured at work every year and 70 die from their injuries.

The findings, appearing in the March issue of Pediatrics, are based on a 2003 telephone survey of 866 teenagers working in the retail and service industry including restaurants, grocery stores and retail stores. The same researchers found similar violations of work rules in a previous survey of North Carolina teens working in construction.