Minnesota teens and other younger workers may be at a greater risk for injury than older workers. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that on-the-job injuries that must be treated in emergency departments are approximately two times higher for workers under 24 than for older workers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has outlined some of the dangers faced by young workers in certain fields. The biggest employer of teens is the leisure and hospitality industry. Food service falls under this designation, and hazards teens may face there include slippery floors, hot cooking equipment and violent crime. Slippery floors are also a hazard in the second-largest industry to employ teens, retail, along with heavy lifting and dangers from equipment. Other dangers include potential exposure to chemicals or other hazards in janitorial, agricultural and outdoor work or ergonomic injuries in office work.
According to one child labor specialist, training is key in preventing injuries to younger workers. The state of Massachusetts also looked more closely at injury statistics and found that male teenagers tended to be injured more than female teenagers and that open wounds and sprains were the most common types of on-the-job injuries.
Most workplace injuries are covered by workers’ compensation. While an employer may inform workers about their eligibility, in some cases an employer might not know whether a worker is eligible or may want to discourage an employee from filing for compensation. In either of these cases, or if the employer tries to retaliate against the employee for filing for compensation, the worker might want to talk to an attorney who may be able to explain the worker’s rights in this situation. Furthermore, if an initial workers’ compensation claim is denied, an attorney may be able to assist with the appeal.