NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Work hazards and workplace safety violations experienced by adolescent construction workers.

Runyan CW; Dal Santo J; Schulman M; Lipscomb HJ; Harris TA
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2006 Jul; 160(7):721-727
OBJECTIVE: To describe the working conditions of adolescents employed in construction in North Carolina, documenting hazards, safety practices, and prohibited activities. DESIGN: A cross-sectional telephone survey. SETTING: North Carolina. PARTICIPANTS: Adolescents (aged <18 years) with work permits for the construction industry in North Carolina during summer 2001. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Types of jobs, work tasks, supervisory conditions, tools, equipment, and processes. RESULTS: A total of 187 survey respondents were in this study. Adolescents were employed in varied construction settings and business types. Nineteen of the 187 permitted workers were younger than 16 years, despite prohibitions against their employment in construction unless working for their parents. The remainder (n = 168) were working legally based on age, but most performed prohibited tasks. In fact, 84% of all the 16- to 17-year-olds had performed at least 1 clearly prohibited task and 47% had performed 3 or more. Although most reported being supervised and working with others, approximately 19% of all respondents reported working where they were not in hearing distance of other workers. Data were collected from teenagers with work permits, suggesting that these adolescents may work for more responsible employers. If violations of child labor laws exist in this group, it is likely that adolescents without permits are exposed to even greater hazards and violations. CONCLUSION: Involvement of teenagers in dangerous and/or prohibited tasks is cause for concern and suggests a pressing need to examine the enforcement of existing laws and the need for additional protection.
Construction; Construction-workers; Construction-equipment; Construction-industry; Construction-materials; Adolescents; Hazards; Health-hazards; Work-environment; Work-operations; Safety-climate; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Work-practices; Health-surveys; Accident-potential; Regulations; Injury-prevention
Carol W. Runyan, MPH, PhD, Injury Prevention Research Center, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Campus Box 7505, No. 500, 137 E Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7505
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Work Environment And Workforce: Special Populations; Disease and Injury: Traumatic Injuries
Source Name
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Performing Organization
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division