Teen Injuries Prompt Review of Job Safety. (on First Reading)

State Legislatures, February 2003 | Go to article overview

Teen Injuries Prompt Review of Job Safety. (on First Reading)


A 15-year-old grocery store employee severely injures his arm in a meat grinding machine; a 17-year-old has both legs amputated after falling into a horizontal hydraulic baler at a recycling center.

Injuries of this magnitude to teenage employees have prompted the Department of Labor to consider new requirements for young workers.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently issued a report that showed that an average of 67 workers under the age of 18 die each year from occupational injuries, and another 77,000 are treated for injuries.

The institute recommends that the labor department issue new "hazardous orders" and revise current ones, which prohibit employment in jobs deemed too hazardous or detrimental to children's health and well being. New hazardous orders barring teen employment are recommended if fatalities for a particular occupation exceed 10 incidents per 100,000 of all U.S. workers.

The report argues that extra protection for child workers is necessary because a teen is at higher risk of injury due to unfamiliarity with work, is less likely to be trained to recognize hazards and is unaware of legal rights on the job. …

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