When school lets out in a couple months, a lot of Colorado teenagers will be searching for a way to earn some extra cash. Many will try to get summer jobs at local businesses like restaurants, retail stores, farms or resorts.
The summer job has long been a rite of passage for American teenagers. However, a new study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health shows that these jobs may also put teens at risk of harm. It estimates that 20,000 teenagers are injured in work accidents in the United States each year.
The most common forms of work-related injuries are burns, broken bones, dislocated joints, sprained or strained muscles, lacerations, contusions and abrasions. Retail stores and grocery stores account for the majority of workplace accidents involving teenagers.
The NIOSH found, though, that farms are the most dangerous places for teenagers to work. Heavy machinery and dangerous working conditions, combined with relatively lax safety restrictions, mean that farms are responsible for a larger share of fatal work-related accidents than any other workplace.
The study further found that the risk of injury is particularly acute on family farms. Although the federal Fair Labor Standards Act restricts the hours teens can work and the type of duties they may perform, its protections do not apply to children who are working for their parents on a farm or other type of family business.
Because of their inexperience, many teens may not have as sophisticated of an understanding of safety procedures when compared with older workers. Businesses that employ teenagers should make sure offer quality training on how to stay safe at work.
Source: Medical Daily, “Dozens of Teenagers Lose Lives Each Year Due to Poor Safety Standards,” April 10, 2012.