An investigation was conducted on work related injuries in 14 to 16 year olds treated in hospital emergency departments. Data on work related injuries to a sample of individuals aged 14 to 16 years old who received emergency treatment during the 3 month period from July 1 to September 30, 1992 were collected from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. A questionnaire covering demographic, occupational and medical data was given to the study group, and telephone interviews were conducted with parental consent. Of the 174 surveillance cases, interviews were conducted for 146. Subjects' work related injuries occurred during summer break in 78% of the interviewed cases, with 88% taking place in July and August. Approximately 1/3 of the injuries occurred in an eating establishment. Safety training had not been received by 54% of the respondents. Normal activity was restricted as a result of work related injuries in 68% of the respondents. Burns were significantly associated with increased disability. A job or work activity typically proscribed under child labor laws was involved in 19% of the injuries. The authors conclude that lack of training, equipment use, and retail work are linked to many of the disabling injuries seen in adolescents treated in hospital emergency rooms, and that there are areas that should be targeted for intervention and evaluation studies.