NIOSH Update: NIOSH Warns: Employment May Be Hazardous For Adolescent Workers
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 95-115
This NIOSH Update, based upon a more detailed NIOSH Alert, focused on jobs that present significant hazards to adolescent workers. Accident and mortality rates for adolescents in the U.S. workforce indicated that motor vehicle accidents were the leading cause of adolescent worker death from 1980 to 1989. The accidents occurred while adolescents, aged 16 to 17 years old, worked for delivery services, road construction sites and gas stations. Machine related accidents, violence, falls and electrocutions represented other leading causes of adolescent worker deaths during this period. Related research has indicated that approximately 64,000 adolescents received emergency room treatment for work related accidents in 1992. The most serious injuries were caused by burns sustained in food service jobs and sprains from overexertion. Hazardous materials and working conditions were considered risk factors that may expose adolescents to pesticides, benzene, asbestos, silica and high levels of noise which could cause illnesses undetectable for months or years. Recommendations for minimizing the hazards faced by adolescent workers were listed and included incorporating information about occupational safety and health into school curricula and informing employers, counselors, educators, parents and adolescents about child labor laws.