Adolescent Workers: Prevention of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses


This is a draft document meant for review only. Do not cite this document.

Unsafe Young Worker Practices

Study on adolescent construction workers in North Carolina found:6

  • 84% of 16 to 17 year-olds had performed at least 1 clearly prohibited task, 47% had performed 3 or more.
  • 19% reported working where they were not in hearing distance of other workers.

Survey in the retail and service sectors described dangerous practices of working adolescents age 14-18:7

  • Adolescent workers reported working an average of 16.2 hours per week during the school year
  • 52% of males and 43% of females reported having performed prohibited tasks, such as using hazardous equipment (e.g., slicers, dough mixers, box crushers)
  • Males more likely to report working without supervision than female counterparts

Part One: Page 7 of 9

6 Runyan CW, Dal Santo J, Schulman M, Lipscomb HJ, Harris TA. Work hazards and workplace safety violations experienced by adolescent construction workers. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med.2006;160(7):721-727. doi:10.1001/archpedi.160.7.721

7 Runyan, C. W., Schulman, M., Dal Santo, J., Agans, R., & Ta, M. (2007). Work-related hazards and workplace safety of US adolescents employed in the retail and service sectors.  Pediatrics, 119, 526. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2006-2009

Page last reviewed: January 2, 2019