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Teens at work: work-related injuries to teens in Massachusetts, 2004-2008.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Occupational Health Surveillance Program
Boston, MA: Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 2011 Winter; :1-8
Working is part of everyday life for many teenagers. An estimated 80% of teens in the U.S. are employed at some point during high school.(1) In 2009, 19% of 15- to 17-year-olds in Massachusetts were employed at any given point in time.(2) Even in today's tough economy, with fewer teens working than in past years,(3) we still rely on youth in many industries. We need to do all we can to ensure jobs in which teens are employed are safe. We also need to provide teens with basic health and safety skills that will help protect them now and in the future. Employment can provide many benefits to youth in addition to income: opportunities to take on new responsibilities, learn job skills, explore future careers and, in some cases, improve academic skills. But just like adults, teens are at risk of getting injured at work. In 2007 in the U.S., 48,600 teens under age 18 visited hospital emergency departments for work-related injuries; three times that many teen work injuries are thought to occur every year.(4) And in 2009, 27 U.S. teenagers were fatally injured at work.(5) In fact, young people have about twice the rate of non-fatal occupational injury per hour worked than older workers.(6) Inexperience is a risk factor. Teens also tend to work in jobs that have higher than average injury rates for workers of all ages. In addition, we know that many working teens receive no health and safety training on the job. Having information about where and how young workers are injured on the job is essential to prevent future injuries and to promote safer work opportunities for youth. The Teens at Work: Injury Surveillance and Prevention Project at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) collects data from hospital emergency departments (ED), and workers' compensation (WC) lost wage claims, to identify work-related injuries to teens. WC claims are for injuries resulting in five or more days of missed work, while ED injuries can range in severity. Informed by these data, and interviews conducted with injured teens, Teens at Work collaborates with other agencies and community partners on initiatives to prevent injuries to working teens in Massachusetts. DATA HIGHLIGHTS: From 2004 through 2008, in Massachusetts: 1) Three teens under age 18 were fatally injured while working. 2) 4,019 teens under age 18 visited a hospital emergency department for work-related injuries; that is nearly 3 teens injured for every 100 full-time equivalents. 3) 968 workers' compensation lost wage claims were filed by teens under age 18, for injuries resulting in five or more lost work days. Special highlight: 1) In 2009, nearly one fifth (18%) of Massachusetts middle school students reported working for pay, other than babysitting or yard work.
Injuries; Injury-prevention; Adolescents; Surveillance-programs; Employee-health; Occupations; Information-systems; Health-care; Mortality-data; Emergency-care; Statistical-analysis; Humans; Workers; Work-environment; Traumatic-injuries; Public-health; Health-protection; Training; Risk-factors; Hazards; Occupational-health-programs; Occupational-safety-programs; Food-services; Safety-education; Work-practices; Industrial-safety; Industrial-environment; Age-factors
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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Teens at work: work-related injuries to teens in Massachusetts, 2004-2008
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Massachusetts State Department of Public Health - Boston
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division