NIOSH update: NIOSH study finds work injuries, illnesses among young employees pervasive, preventable.
NIOSH investigated accident and illness rates encountered by adolescents in the U.S. workforce based upon an analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. The investigation determined that 16 and 17 year olds experienced the highest incidence of work related disorders compared to any other child age group, and that the jobs most frequently associated with adolescent worker accident or illness were in food preparation or service. Sprains, strains, cuts, heat burns, lacerations, contusions and abrasions, fractures, and dislocations represented the leading causes of adolescent worker injuries and illnesses. In 1992, 64,000 youths were treated in emergency departments for work related injuries, and in 1994, 67 youths died. Recommendations for minimizing the hazards faced by adolescent workers are presented to employers and include complying with child labor laws, recognizing the relative inexperience of young workers, observing routine precautions and taking additional precautions specific to young workers. NIOSH activities impacting young workers were also listed.