Many teens who are off of work for the summer will find jobs in industries like fast food, retail, grocery or landscaping. Young workers gain valuable experience by taking summer jobs, but unfortunately they lack training and knowledge about safe work environments when they first enter the workforce.
There is a significant risk of teens getting hurt while performing summer jobs. If a young person is injured while performing work tasks, the teen should talk with a Boston work injury lawyer about how to obtain coverage for medical bills and other losses the injury has caused to occur.
Teenagers at Risk of Getting Hurt On-the-Job During the Summer
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration, workers between the ages of 14 an 24 face a substantial risk of on-the-job injury as a result of their “physical, cognitive, and emotional development characteristics,” as well as their lack of work experience.
Many young workers are hesitant to ask questions about things they don’t know, which means they are more likely to make mistakes resulting in injury to themselves or to others. Many young workers also do not know how to recognize hazards on work sites and thus aren’t able to report the problems or avoid dangerous situations where there is a significant potential for injury.
The specific hazards young workers face will vary depending upon the industry in which they work. For example, when teens go to work in grocery stores or retail environments, they face the risk of a slip-and-fall because of slippery floors. They could suffer over-exertion injuries from heavy lifting or injuries due to repetitive hand motions.
There may be equipment or machinery in use at the grocery store and young workers could be hurt as a result of accidents like becoming trapped or crushed between machinery and objects or malfunctions when using machinery. Massachusetts laws impose some age limits on how old workers must be in order to operate various types of machinery and equipment in grocery stores, like automatic meat slicers and grinders. Teens must be at least 16 to use this type of equipment.
Fast food workers and other teens who go to work in food service face the risk of being cut by a knife or other sharp objects. They could be scalded due to hot cooking equipment, injured in a fall on a slippery floor, victimized by violent crime, or hurt by heavy lifting. Accidents involving electricity could also occur and cause injury or death.
Landscape and outdoor workers face the risk of heat exposure, exposure to chemical pesticides, the risk of exposure to electrical wires, and the possibility of being hurt by machinery or heavy equipment.
Young workers need to know what their rights are. The law protects workers who speak up about unsafe conditions or about discriminatory behavior, and workers cannot be fired for reporting unsafe working conditions on-the-job. Workers who get hurt while performing tasks are also entitled to work injury benefits and should work with an attorney to find out how to pursue a claim if they get hurt.
If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston work accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Young Workers, OSHA
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Report: Three Workers Burned in Natural Gas Explosion, Feb. 18, 2017, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog