The workplace can be dangerous for people of all ages, but young people face special risks on the job. In addition to lacking the experience to avoid some dangerous situations, young workers may also be more likely to take jobs in the restaurant industry or in a field where physical work and manual labor are required. Our Boston work injury lawyers know that these jobs bring with them some serious potential dangers, including the risk of being burned.
The Province recently reported on one young man who was badly hurt when he was working at a restaurant job at just 19 years of age. He is now an advocate and spokesperson who is speaking out to other young workers about steps they can take to protect themselves on the job.
Young Workers and On-the-Job Risks
The young man was hurt while emptying vats of hot fryer oil when closing the restaurant. His co-worker was spraying down the kitchen floor at the same time, causing a slip and fall incident.
Hot oil splashed over the face and chest of the 19-year-old, causing burn injuries on 43 percent of his body. He suffered first-, second- and third-degree burns and spent a month in the burn unit. He was also forced to undergo numerous skin grafts and was in unbearable pain.
While this recovery period was difficult, he is lucky he was not blinded or killed. His tragic accident resulted in the restaurant being fined and the procedure for emptying the oil was changed. Still, the accident could have been avoided if the young man had known of the risks.
His advice to young people that he now shares in educational programs: trust your own instincts. He says he knew in his gut that what he was being asked to do was dangerous. Yet, instead of refusing to do the work task, he did it anyway — to his detriment.
Protecting Yourself On the Job
While young workers may find it difficult to stand up for themselves and it may seem hard to tell your employer no if you’re asked to do something dangerous, it is important for every worker to speak up if his safety is in jeopardy because of an employer’s policies or actions.
OSHA reports that a teenage worker gets hurt on the job once every nine minutes. In 2011 alone, 331 young workers were killed and 106,170 injured while on the job. No young person should take chances that increase the risk of becoming one of these victims. The OSHA Young Workers website provides details on the rights of youth workers and the obligations of employers, and young people who believe they are asked to do something dangerous should review the OSHA information to learn about their options and the resources available to them.
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim– 1-888-367-2900.
More Blog Entries:
Protecting Women in the Construction Industry, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, September 3, 2013