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Preventing workplace injuries among young workers

When young people enter the work force, they are usually less experienced than workers who are older. It is particularly important for employers to guard against workplace injuries among young workers. California readers will be interested to know that approximately 13 percent of the entire American workforce is made of young workers who are less than 24 years old. 

Young people are typically employed in jobs that require little or no previous experience. Jobs as farm hands, restaurant workers or janitorial employees are more accessible to young people, but as a result, they are often exposed to certain risks. For example, restaurant work may present a danger of slippery floors or require the use of sharp objects. Teen workers may not be strong enough or mature enough to safely operate the heavy equipment required in certain jobs. 

Statistics indicate that workers under the age of 25 are twice as likely to be injured on the job as those who are 25 years and older. While most of these injuries are not fatal, young people die as a result of workplace accidents and injuries every year. When a young life is cut short, particularly as a result of a preventable accident, it is especially tragic.

Many workplace injuries may be prevented with proper training and safety procedures put into place. Young California workers have the right to a place of employment that is free of unnecessary hazards, and they should be provided with adequate equipment to do their job safely. After a work accident, a young employee may need help pursuing claims for workers' compensation benefits to cover the cost of medical care and any missed time from work while recovering.  

Source: cdc.gov, "Young Worker Safety and Health", Accessed on March 16, 2016

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