YOUNG WORKER SAFETY AND HEALTH
In 2010, there were approximately 17.5 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 2009, 359 workers less than 24 years of age died from work-related injuries, including 27 deaths of youth less than 18 years of age. For the 10 year period 1998 to 2007, there were 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.
- Health and Safety of Young Workers: Proceedings of a U.S. and Canadian Series of Symposia
- Are You a Teen Worker? ¿Eres un adolescente y trabajas? is now available in Spanish.
- “Teens at Work: Work-related Injuries to Teens in Massachusetts, 2005-2009,” a spring 2012 report from the MA Department of Public Health.
- NIOSH Impact Sheet: Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks
- High Impact Project: An Evaluation of a High School ESL Health and Safety Curriculum
- Inclusion of Young Workers in the WHO Executive Board Resolution on Child Injury Prevention
- New International Database on Resource Materials for Youth and Hazardous Work
- Youth@Work Talking Safety Curriculum Updated 2010
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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