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Young workers face higher risk of on-the-job injuries

A New Jersey teenager getting a first job might not receive adequate safety training or supervision, which could increase the risk of workplace accidents. When the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health looked specifically at employees younger than 24, it found that 403 such workers were killed on the job in 2015, and people under age 18 accounted for 24 of the fatalities. An analysis of the period of 1998 to 2007 showed that young workers needed treatment at emergency rooms twice as often as employees age 25 and above.

NIOSH identified the leisure and hospitality industry as the largest employer of teenagers. This category includes food service. Retailers came in second place for the number of teenage workers. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, over 2 million youths under age 20 work around hazards in the agricultural sector.

Different industries create different safety challenges, and OSHA reported that heavy lifting, slippery floors and equipment threaten young retail and grocery employees the most often. Slippery floors also trouble people in food service as well as hot cooking equipment and violent crime. Young people performing janitorial duties could experience chemical exposures and biological hazards along with the demand to lift heavy objects. Outdoor work and agriculture place workers in danger of heat exposure, pesticide exposure and accidents with machinery.

An inexperienced worker might not be aware of rights to safety training and workers' compensation benefits. After an accident, a person might seek information from an attorney, especially if an employer does not want to disclose information or recognize a workplace injury. An attorney could prepare the claim for benefits that could include the payment of medical bills and partial wage replacement.

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