Summer is here, and thousands of Colorado teens are earning some extra cash as part-time workers. Most of them aren’t planning to stay in those jobs for very long. Instead, many are looking ahead to college or military service. Others aren’t sure what the future has in store for them. What none of them are expecting is getting injured while working. But a significant number of teenagers working in summer jobs do get injured – and some even get killed.
Young workers are injured at twice the rate of older workers
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) notes that on average, hospitals treat 795,000 injured young workers each year. In 2015, NIOSH reported that there were 24 fatalities involving workers under the age of 18. Workers under the age of 24 suffer twice as many on-the-job injuries as those 25 or older.
We can speculate on the reasons why. Perhaps inexperience, carelessness, nonchalance, or a feeling of invulnerability play a role in the higher injury rate for young workers. But what is clear is how serious many of these injuries are. In Washington State, the Department of Labor & Industries notes that the most common teen injuries are cuts, strains and sprains, and falls.
Massachusetts reported similar findings in a study released in 2014. It found that between 2007 and 2011, sprain injuries comprised 32% of teen work injuries and open wounds comprised 31% of injuries. The Massachusetts study also contained these interesting facts about teen work injuries:
- Male teens suffered injuries at a higher rate than female teens.
- The majority of injuries were to 17-year olds, followed by 16-year olds.
- Food service and hospitality accounted for 33% of teen work injuries, followed by retail at 26%.
Workers’ compensation benefits for injured teens
Most people who earn an hourly wage in Colorado are covered by the state’s workers’ compensation system. That includes teens working in quick serve restaurants, retail stores, amusement parks, and other temporary jobs. If your child has suffered an injury while working, speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.