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YOUNG WORKER SAFETY AND HEALTH

teen waitressIn 2013, there were approximately 18.1 million workers less than 24 years of age, and these workers represented 13% of the workforce. Young workers have high occupational injury rates which are in part explained by a high frequency of injury hazards in workplaces where they typically work (e.g. hazards in restaurant settings associated with slippery floors and use of knives and cooking equipment). Inexperience and lack of safety training may also increase injury risks for young workers. And, for the youngest workers, those in middle and high schools, there may be biologic and psychosocial contributors to increased injury rates, such as inadequate fit, strength, and cognitive abilities to operate farm equipment such as tractors.

In 2012, 375 workers less than 24 years of age died from work-related injuries, including 29 deaths of youth less than 18 years of age. For the 10 year period 1998 to 2007, there was an annual average of 795,000 nonfatal injuries to young workers treated in U.S. hospital injury departments. The rate for emergency department-treated occupational injuries of young workers was approximately two times higher than among workers 25 years and older. The U.S. Public Health Service has a Healthy People objective to reduce rates of occupational injuries treated in emergency departments among working adolescents 15-19 years of age by 10% by 2020, from the 2007 rate of 4.9 injuries per 100 fulltime equivalent workers.

 
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  • Page last reviewed: June 19, 2014
  • Page last updated: June 23, 2014
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