two young workers

Young workers have high rates of job-related injury. These injuries are often the result of the many hazards present in the places they typically work, such as sharp knives and slippery floors in restaurants. Limited or no prior work experience and a lack of safety training also contribute to high injury rates. Middle and high school workers may be at increased risk for injury since they may not have the strength or cognitive ability needed to perform certain job duties.

Fast Stats:

  • In 2018, there were about 19.4 million workers under the age of 24. These workers represented 12% of the total workforce1.
  • In 2018, 360 workers under the age of 24 died from work-related injuries2.
  • In 2018, there were 22 deaths to workers under 18 years of age2.
  • In 2018, the incidence rate for non-fatal injuries for workers, ages 16–19, was 110.3 per 10,000 full-time employees (FTE) and 99.3 per 10,000 FTE for workers, ages 20–243.
  • In 2017, the rate of work-related injuries treated in emergency departments for workers, ages 15–19, was 1.25 times greater than the rate for workers 25 years of age and older4.

To help address this problem, the U.S. Public Health Service developed a Healthy People objective to reduce rates of work-related injuries among workers 15-19 years of age by 10 percent by the year 2020.

1 NIOSH (2020). Analysis of the Current Population Survey. Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Unpublished.

2 Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019). Table A-8. Fatal occupational injuries by event of exposure and age, all United States, 2018external icon.

3 Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020). Occupational Injuries/Illnesses and Fatal Injuries Profilesexternal icon.

4 NIOSH (2019). The Work-Related Injury Statistics Query System (Work-RISQS).

Page last reviewed: October 5, 2020