As summer approaches many teens will be taking on summer jobs to earn money for college and gain work experience for their resumes. Teens are in a higher risk category for work injuries because of a lack of experience as well as being less physically, cognitively, and emotionally developed than adults. In fact, statistics show that workers under the age of 25 are more than twice as likely to experience an emergency room visit than workers 25 and older. They are also less likely to ask questions when unsure of a task, and less likely to question authority when faced with a hazardous task. Young people, like all workers, should be aware of both safety issues in their place of work and their right to a safe work environment.
Common Teen Jobs and Their Hazards
Construction – Falls are a leading cause of injury to construction workers and teens should be aware of the risks of working at heights. Electrocution is a risk during the installation of electrical systems, from power tools and other equipment, and from the use of extension cords. Construction sites are busy with many different types of heavy machinery and motor vehicles so workers must be careful to avoid being caught in or between them.
Landscaping – Anyone working in landscaping is at risk for a number of injuries including those from heat stroke, cuts and lacerations from equipment, exposure to chemicals and pesticides, slips and trips, hearing loss from noise exposure, and motor vehicle accidents.
Restaurant and Food Industry – Food service presents many safety hazards from slip and falls, to hot cooking equipment and sharp knives. Federal child labor laws prohibit teens under 16 from performing jobs such as cooking (with the exception of soda fountains, snack bars, cafeteria serving counters, and lunch counters), baking, and operating power-driven slicers, grinders, choppers, cutters, and mixers. Additionally, teens who are not yet 16 may not work in freezers or meat coolers, or load/unload goods off trucks, railcars, or conveyors.
Lifeguarding – Lifeguarding is perhaps the most common summer job for teens. The risks associated with this job include slip and falls, water borne illnesses, such as bacterial or parasitic infections, heat stress and sunburns, and respiratory illnesses from exposure to the chemicals used to clean pools.
All workers, including teens, have a right to a safe work environment including personal protective equipment where it is appropriate. This may include eye protection, gloves, and hard hats. Employers must provide training for teens so that they are aware of the hazards that exist in the workplace and the training must be in a language they can understand. Teens may be the youngest part of the workforce, but their rights to a safe workplace are the same.
Philadelphia Work Injury Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Fight for the Rights of Teen Workers
If you are a young person who has been injured at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. At Freedman & Lorry, P.C. we fight to protect the rights of workers of all ages, including teenagers and young people. We can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 888-999-1962 to speak with an experienced Philadelphia work injury lawyer or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. From our offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.