With school letting out, summer is the time when local teens flood the job market. You see them at fast food restaurants, grocery stores and retail establishments. They work behind the scenes too, in jobs that demand hard physical labor and where the work required is dangerous for even a mature adult. Unfortunately, their lack of experience can lead to on-the-job accidents, resulting in serious, potentially disabling and even life threatening injuries. Before your teen accepts summer employment, check out our list of the most dangerous jobs for teens and tips on how to help keep workers safe.
Dangers Faced By Teen Workers
According to statistics from the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), as many as 30 teens are killed on the job each year in the United States, while thousands more suffer serious injuries. Despite child labor laws and the threat of serious penalties and fines, many employers still have underage workers performing tasks that are prohibited, putting these young workers at risk.
Each year, the CLC publishes a list of the five most deadly jobs for teens. For 2016, those that made the list are common types of positions found throughout South Carolina. They include:
- Tobacco harvesters
- Agricultural workers, such as harvesting crops and working with machinery
- Traveling sales crews
- Construction work, particularly positions that require workers to perform jobs at heights
- Landscapers, groundskeepers, and other outdoor maintenance workers
Other positions that put teens at risk include restaurant work, delivery driving, and manufacturing. Threats are posed by dehydration, working in high temperatures, exposure to toxic substances, lack of adequate break periods, handling shop objects or machinery, and falling from heights. Teen workers may lack the proper training to perform job requirements, and employers often drive them harder or take advantage of them due to their young age. They are also at greater risk for workplace violence, whether from their boss, coworkers, or from clients they serve.
Protecting Teenage Workers
For parents, the CLC recommends protecting teens by doing the following:
- Say no to jobs that require traveling, operating heavy or dangerous equipment, or extensive driving
- Be aware of the legal work limits and make sure the employer confirms with state laws
- Make sure adequate training and safety equipment is provided
- Remind your teen to play it safe and to trust their instincts. Let them know that they have the right to refuse performing a task that seems dangerous or wrong
Injured On the Job? Get Help Today
Be aware that if your teen is injured on the job, they may be entitled to benefits through the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. Make sure they get medical attention and report all injuries to their supervisor immediately. To get advice on the benefits available or for assistance in filing a claim, contact the Anastopoulo Law Firm and request a free consultation today.