Young workers at higher risk for injury

There's No Substitute for Experience

Many teens in the Nashville, Tennessee, area will be starting their first summer job this year. Some will go into retail, while others will try their hand at an outdoor job, like lifeguarding or working at an amusement park. Whatever their jobs will be, many will take great confidence in earning their own money. However, what many teen workers do not realize is that they have rights when it comes to work, including the right to a safe workplace.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, young workers are among the most vulnerable when it comes to workplace injuries and not knowing about their rights. In looking at the numbers, 106,170 young workers were hurt while on the job and another 331 were killed.

In an attempt to reduce the number of teen worker injuries and illnesses, OSHA has a webpage for young workers, which offers information on summer job safety and their rights. There is also information for employers, parents and educators.

According to OSHA, the summer months can put young people particularly at risk since many take jobs outside. Without having enough water, rest and shade, working in the hot sun all day can lead to heat illness. Every year, workers become sick from too much heat exposure. Some even die.

This, of course, is just one of the hazards facing young workers. Others also include falls from ladders -- a leading cause of death among construction workers -- and exposure to dangerous chemicals.

In the end, young workers need to keep in mind that they have the right to work in a safe environment, to receive proper safety and health training -- in an effort to prevent personal injury -- and to be trained on how to properly use safety gear.

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