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More Teen Workers Means Increased Risks of Work Accidents in Massachusetts

(More than 2.3 million teens between the ages of 14 and 18 held jobs in the United States in 2008, according to National Consumer League (NCL). Many summer jobs lead to an increased risk for work accidents in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the United States for our young, inexperienced workers.
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While it’s no secret that a plummeting job market has affected everyone across the board, it has severely affected our young teens that desire to work. The New York Times reported last month that the U.S. lost roughly 8 million jobs in the last two years, causing the teen unemployment rate to rise to nearly 30 percent. Because of the decrease in available jobs for our teen workers, the NCL worries that teens will seek jobs too dangerous for them or will be less likely to report dangerous or illegal working conditions.

Our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers believe that good work ethic is important in our youngsters as holding a job is an important part of youth development. But we also understand the risks and encourage parents to keep an eye on your teen’s choice of jobs and the associated working conditions.

Each day, 14 workers die in United States. Roughly 35 workers under the age of 18 died in the workplace in 2008 alone.

Inexperienced working teens are especially vulnerable to accidents in the workplace. Accidents are the number one cause of death for those between the ages of 10 and 19, as more die from injuries than all over causes combined.

WCVB-TV Boston reports that every year, in the last eight years, at least one teenager die on the job in Massachusetts. Approximately 1,000 teens wind up in the hospital every year because of injuries in the workplace.

“Sometimes, what’s required is more training; sometimes, educating employers; and sometimes, changing laws,” says John Auerbach, the state’s public health commissioner.

The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) aims to change the alarmingly high rate of workplace injuries for teens as they attempt to educate teens of their rights. MassCOSH created a Teens Lead at Work is a peer leadership group that provides proper training and advocacy for teen workers in order to ensure their safety and health in the workplace and to help teens recognize their rights in the workforce.

“Our mission is to make sure that all people can go to work and return home with their lives and limbs intact,” said Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, executive director of MassCOSH.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) names these conditions as the main causes of workplace injuries. Accidents typically fall into these seven categories:

-Inadequate supervision.

-Alcohol and drug use.

-Stressful working conditions
-Inadequate training.

-Unsafe equipment.

-Trying to hurry.

-Dangerous work that is illegal or inappropriate for young workers.

“It’s the employer’s responsibility to make sure they know what’s safe for a young person, that they provide them with all the protective equipment they need and that they make sure that they’re well trained,” said Goldstein-Gelb.

If you or your teen has been involved in a work accident in Massachusetts, contact The Law Office of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.