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Protecting young workers: a guide for building a state surveillance system for work-related injuries to youths.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Occupational Health Surveillance Program
Boston, MA: Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 2005 Spring; :1-152
Each year in the United States, an estimated 230,000 teens under age 18 are injured on the job. Over 75,000 are injured seriously enough to require treatment in emergency departments. According to emergency department data, teenagers are injured on the job at a substantially higher rate than adults. And, every year, about 70 young workers die as a result of injuries at work. Without action, teens will continue to be injured on the job. At any given point in time, one-third of those 15-17 years of age are employed. Eighty percent of teens work at some point during high school. Work can have many benefits for young people. It can help them develop job skills and enhance self-esteem, as well as provide income that they and their families may need. It is important that this experience be safe. Efforts to protect young workers can also provide teens with important health and safety skills that they will carry with them as workers and employers of the future. Protecting young workers from injuries requires efforts that mobilize communities and forge new collaborations among occupational health experts, public health professionals, schools, employers, and unions, as well as teens and their families.The first step in this process is demonstrating that young workers are at risk. Information about where and how teens are injured at work is needed to mobilize action and guide prevention efforts. National data can play an important role in showing that young people face hazards in the workplace and identify industries where interventions are needed. Based on the national data, it is reasonable to assume, for example, that a substantial proportion of injuries to young workers in any state occur in restaurants and grocery stores. But relying on national statistics can obscure dangers that may be specific to a particular state. In some states, agricultural injuries may be the most serious problem for young workers. Other states may have problems with injuries to young people employed by hotels and seasonal tourist industries. State data can help identify the specific industries, occupations, and communities in which workplace hazards to teens need to be addressed. State data can also pinpoint specific workplaces in which young workers are at risk and intervention is necessary. And state data can be a powerful way of attracting the attention and gaining the support of local policymakers and the public. Surveillance of work-related injuries to youth is a crucial step in understanding the nature and extent of this problem and developing and evaluating strategies for preventing these injuries.We hope this guidebook will help you take this step.
Injuries; Injury-prevention; Adolescents; Surveillance-programs; Employee-health; Occupations; Information-systems; Recording-systems; Health-surveys; Health-care; Emergency-treatment; Mortality-data; Emergency-care; Statistical-analysis; Medical-care; Humans; Workers; Work-environment; Work-areas; Traumatic-injuries; Public-health; Health-protection; Education; Training; Risk-factors; Preventive-medicine; Hazards; Food-services; Food-handlers; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Agricultural-industry
Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Occupational Health Surveillance Program, Teens at Work: Injury Surveillance and Prevention Project, 250 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02108
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Protecting young workers: a guide for building a state surveillance system for work-related injuries to youths
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Massachusetts State Department of Public Health - Boston
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division