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May 31, 2011

Keeping Young Workers Safe

The Centers for Disease Control estimate 146,000 young workers sustain work-related injuries and illnesses each year. If you plan to hire young workers this summer, you should be aware of their unique risks for work-related injuries and illnesses.

Research from NIOSH shows that younger workers (age 15-24) are twice as likely as their older counterparts to be treated in hospital emergency departments for work-related injuries. The most frequent cause of death for younger workers was transportation-related (also true for older populations). "Contact with objects or equipment" caused the highest number of emergency-room-treated injuries.

One possible contributing factor: Medical research now suggests the human brain continues to mature and change significantly into the mid 20s. This may help explain why adolescents and young adults sometimes make decisions that are risky and lead to safety or health concerns.

Fortunately, a number of resources are available to help employers keep young workers safe, including videos and fact sheets from ANSI, OSHA and other groups:

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