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Exposure to workplace dangers and a frenetic job pace increases the likelihood of injuries among adolescent and young adult workers, according to an article by the Center of The Advancement of Health. The article is based on a review that appears in the latest issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

No surprises here. Food service and construction industry jobs top the list of hazardous employment in this age group. Minorities face a significantly higher risk. In one study, the prevalence of work injuies among Hispanic, black and other minorities was 67 percent higher than among young white workers. In another, the prevalence of on-the-job injuries were 60 percent higher in Hispanic teens, compared to white teens, the article says.

Scientists analyzed nine studies between 1997 and 2005, which examined nonfatal injuries among 12- to 24-year-old workers. Six studies took place in the United States and three were conducted in Canada and Australia.

Common on-the-job hazards included using knives, climbing ladders or scaffolding and operating fryer machines, grills and ovens. Not surprisingly, the more hazards workers were exposed to, the greater their likelihood of injury.

In 2004, almost 180,000 U.S. teens were severely injured at work and between 15 percent and 26 percent of injured teen workers report permanent health problems as the result of on-the-job injuries.

This is quite an alarming statistic. We at Bisnar|Chase have noticed that certain negligent employers make the situation worse by not maintaining safe work areas or working their young employees to the point of exhaustion.

It is important that parents talk with their children about their work. Most kids are new to the idea of working. Parents should also discuss such issues as supervision and training and the types of tasks or equipment there youngsters are involved with and the hazards they might face while using such equipment.

One of the researchers for this article also suggests that parents meet their children’s supervisors to see if the supervisor is managing them in a responsible way. Be careful of employers who take advantage of young employees by exposing them to dangerous working conditions, inadequate training and a lack of emergence response procedures.

I have a real attitude about employers who demonstrate callous disregard for their employees’ welfare, especially young, low paid employees.

For some great information about youth work laws by state, visit the U.S. Department of Labor website at

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