Data from the National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities surveillance system on occupational injury deaths in 16 and 17 year olds for 1980 through 1989 were compared with data for adults 18 years of age and older. There were 673 deaths of 16 and 17 year olds reported from 1980 to 1989 as occupational injury deaths. Of these, three were military deaths. For 16 and 17 year olds, the average annual rate of occupational injury death was 5.11 per 100,000 full time equivalent workers, while the rate for adults was 6.09 per 100,000. Forty four percent of deaths occurred during June through August. Males accounted for 617 of the deaths. Youths were at greater risk than adults for death by electrocution, suffocation, drowning and poisoning. Of 17 youths who died from natural and environmental causes, 14 were struck by lightning. Motor vehicles were involved in nearly 25% of the occupational injury deaths. Of machine related deaths, 68 involved agricultural machinery.