There are approximately 19 million workers under the age of 24, and they make up about 13 percent of the labor force around the country according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. While younger workers are generally agile and may be able to recover from workplace injuries more quickly than their older colleagues, they often lack the experience necessary to spot danger signs and avoid accidents in the first place.
NIOSH data reveals that work-related injuries claimed the lives of more than 400 young workers in 2015, and 24 of those killed had yet to turn 18. However, most of the 80,000 or so young workers treated in the nation’s emergency rooms each year suffer from mild injuries like strains, sprains and contusions. The costs of emergency medical care are high, and employers can both protect their younger employees from workplace injuries and reduce their health care expenses by implementing strict accident prevention policies.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that safety training is particularly important in sectors like agriculture and the leisure industry that employ large amounts of young employees or expose their workers to dangerous machines or equipment. This view is backed up by research. More than half of the Massachusetts teens injured in workplace accidents between 2007 and 2011 were employed in the accommodation and food service or retail sectors according to a state study.
Attorneys with experience in this area will likely have encountered young workers who suffered injuries while on the job. Young workers often live at home and have few expenses, but they may still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Attorneys could help young workers to become familiar with the workers’ compensation claims process and explain the various benefits available under the program.