Summer jobs could hold dangers for teens

Many Minnesota teens take the opportunity to earn money during the break from school with a summer job. While a number of students work during the school year as well, the summertime is a boost to employment for high school and college students.

Young workers under 24 represented 13 percent of the American workforce in 2015, reports the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. While they're on the job, however, there are a number of risks to which they are exposed. These dangers can include unsafe equipment and improper or insufficient training and supervision. In fact, the rate of occupational injuries that come to the emergency room among workers under 24 is twice that of workers over 25, according to NIOSH. The work injuries most frequently suffered by teens specifically include sprains and strains.

Summer jobs can pose differing risks for teens on the job. In retail and grocery stores, heavy lifting can lead to back pain and wet floors can cause slips and falls. Equipment and machinery for cutting and packing can also lead to injuries when handled improperly or without sufficient training. Food service jobs can also be dangerous. Hot cooking equipment and oils pose a risk for burns, while slippery floors remain a risk. Outdoor jobs like landscaping carry their own hazards, including heat and pesticide exposure. Cutting and pruning machinery can also be risky, especially for workers lacking skills and knowledge about proper use and safety protections.

Workers of any age injured on the job could be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. These can include the payment of medical expenses and in some cases the replacement of a portion of lost wages. An attorney can often provide assistance with the preparation of the claim.

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