YOUNG WORKER SAFETY AND HEALTH
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.
- In 2016, there were about 19.3 million workers under the age of 24. These workers represented 13% of the total workforce1.
- In 2015, 403 workers under the age of 24 died from work-related injuries2.
- In 2015, there were 24 deaths to workers under 18 years of age2.
- In 2015, the incidence rate for non-fatal injuries for workers, ages 16–19, was 110.5 per 10,000 full-time employees (FTE) and 98.3 per 10,000 FTE for workers, ages 20–243.
- In 2014, the rate of work-related injuries treated in emergency departments for workers, ages 15–19, was 2.18 times greater than the rate for workers 25 years of age and older. In the same year, the rate of work-related injuries treated in emergency departments for workers, ages 20–24, was 1.76 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.
Other Young Worker Safety and Health Resources
- Young Worker Injury Deaths: A Historical Summary of Surveillance and Investigative Findings
- “Getting Hurt is Not in Your Job Description,” a social media campaign by the Massachusetts Department of Youth Employment and Safety Team
- Foundational workplace safety and health competencies for the emerging workforce
- Staying Safe at Work. A curriculum for teaching workers with intellectual and development disabilities (IDDs) about health and safety on the job.
- Youth@Work: Talking Safety. A free, fun, foundational curriculum in workplace safety and health.
- Podcasts – Young People, Obesity and Safety: The Dangerous Links
- Work-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes: Preventing Injuries to Young Drivers: What Parents Should Know
- Work-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes: Preventing Injuries to Young Drivers: What Employers Should Know
- Safe • Skilled • Ready Workforce Program
- Safety Matters. A joint NIOSH/American Industrial Hygiene Association training for young workers
- “Teens at Work: Work-Related Injuries to Teens in Massachusetts, 2007-2011,” a spring 2014 report from the MA Department of Public Health.
- Health and Safety of Young Workers: Proceedings of a U.S. and Canadian Series of Symposia
1 NIOSH (2017). 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 (2017). Table A-8. Fatal occupational injuries by event of exposure and age, all United States, 2015.
3 Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016). Nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work, 2015.
4 NIOSH (2017). The Work-Related Injury Statistics Query System (Work-RISQS).
- Page last reviewed: April 10, 2018
- Page last updated: August 29, 2017
- Content source:
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Division of Safety Research