Everyone deserves to be safe at work, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that employers tend to overlook a certain group — young people. Young workers account for a disproportionately high number of workplace injuries. All it takes is a one serious work accident to alter the future for a worker as young as 15.
According to data from the CDC, workers between the ages of 15 and 24 are as much as 2.3 times more likely to suffer a nonfatal work injury than those aged 25 to 44. Between 2012 and 2018 alone, 3.2 million workers in the younger age group sought care at emergency rooms for workplace injuries. Out of that group, 18 and 19-year-olds had the highest injury rate of 404 for every 10,000 full time workers. The rate for workers aged 25 to 44 was only 195 per 10,000 full time workers.
Young workers are not suffering injuries just because they have less experience than older workers, although this likely makes it more difficult for them to identify potential safety hazards. A report from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System singled out a number of different factors that contribute to this group’s high injury rate. These include:
- Child labor law violations
- Fast paced work
- Lack of supervision
- Insufficient training
Rhode Island employers need to act responsibly to ensure the safety of all their workers regardless of age. Unfortunately, many fall short on this responsibility, leading to serious workplace injuries. When this happens, it is important for injury victims to seek out and secure benefits through the workers’ compensation system.