Young workers in Pennsylvania may be at a greater risk of injury on the job than their older counterparts. It is estimated that they suffer injuries that must be treated in emergency rooms at a rate two times greater than workers older than 24. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in 2015, more than 400 workers younger than 24 died from workplace injuries. Among that number, 24 were younger than 18. That same year, there was a total of 19.1 million workers younger than 24, and this made up 13 percent of the workforce.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has identified specific hazards in certain industries for younger workers. Food service, which employs the largest number of teens, has hazards that include slippery floors, cooking equipment and the possibility of violent crime. In retail establishments, teens’ second largest employer, slippery floors are also a problem along with heavy lifting and equipment and machinery. More than 2 million people younger than 20 work in the agricultural industry each year where they may face exposure to hazardous chemicals or injuries from grain bins and other machinery.
Some states have looked at specific statistics for injuries and teens. For example, in Massachusetts between 2007 and 2011, male teens were more likely to be injured than females.
People of any age who are injured on the job may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation can be critical to injured workers who are unable to return to their job for a prolonged period, and an attorney can often help them with the preparation and filing of their claims.