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Young Workers Safety

Unfortunately, young adults have a high rate of job related injuries in many different fields. Part of this is due to the fact that some of the most common jobs taken by young adults include those in the restaurant industry which can lead to serious injuries while employees are working. Due to the lack of experience and being new to understanding workplace safety, young adults face much higher risks.

Middle and high school workers may also be at an increased risk of any type of injury because they do not have the cognitive ability or the strength to perform particular job related duties. Injuries sustained by someone on the job could form the basis of a workers' compensation claim and may continue to affect the young adult for many years to come. In 2016, approximately 19.3 million workers were under the age of 24 in the United States. These employees make up approximately 13%. In 2015, more than 400 employees under the age of 24 sustained fatal work related injuries and there were 24 deaths to workers under 18 years of age in that same year as well.

Types of Injuries Sustained by Young Workers

Many of the injuries sustained by young adults on the job are treated in hospital emergency departments. Between 1998 and 2007, more than 795,000 non-fatal medical conditions and injuries were evaluated in emergency rooms across the country. The work-related injury rate for those employees under age 25 was nearly twice the rate for those older individuals. Work related injuries can have a significant impact on the young adult as well as his or her family members. Due to the social, economic and biological characteristics of young adults, it is important for parents and youth alike to be aware of the risks facing these individuals when they accept a job outside of the home.

Young adults are effected by regulations set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as well as the protections supported by the Fair Labors Standards Act. In fact, the FLSA has the specific protections for those employees under the age of 18 as it relates to child labor. Furthermore, states can also pass child labor laws that are equivalent to federal regulations or less or more protective.

An employer is responsible for remaining accountable and in compliance with the strictest state or federal law that applies. Majority of workers between the ages of 15 and 17 spend their time working in the restaurant industry. The most common job related injuries for first time workers under age 18 include exposure to fumes, muscle strains or sprains, lacerations or cuts and burns. Some of the other hazards faced by teenagers in the workplace include excessive noise, eye strain and slip and falls.

The United States Department of Labor has established guidelines for when teenagers can accept particular types of work. When the child is aged 13 or younger, he or she can baby sit, work as an actor or deliver newspapers. When the child reaches aged 14, they become eligible to work in an amusement park, restaurant, movie theater, retail or grocery store or office.

When the child reaches age 16, they can do any occupation or job that is not classified as hazardous as noted on the federal youth rules website. Youth cannot work in meat packing, demolition, excavation, roofing or logging. Furthermore, they cannot drive a forklift or a car and cannot work with radioactive materials, majority of machines, explosives and saws. Even with the safety regulations in place, accidents can and do happen on the job that can compromise the health and safety of the young adult worker.

If an injury happens and the employer could have prevented it, legal claims for injury compensation may follow. Given that the scope of an injury can influence a young worker for many years to come, getting medical attention immediately after a workplace injury is critical for protecting the developing mind and body of a young employee.

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