When parents encourage their teenagers to get a job to learn responsibility and earn money, they are thinking of how much this can teach their child about life and becoming an adult. Probably the furthest thing from a parent’s or the teenager’s mind is the danger of injury or death that teens face at these jobs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 403 workers who were 25 years old and younger and 24 workers under the age of 18 died from workplace injuries in 2015. In 2014, the rate of work-related injuries serious enough to require emergency room treatment was 21.8 times greater for employees between 15 and 19 years old than those who were over 25 years old. When teens are injured at their jobs, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits—even if they work part-time.

What Are Common Causes of Teen Accidents on the Job?

Teenagers often work lower paying jobs due to their limited skills and the restricted hours they can work during the school year. Common teen jobs that are often hazardous include:

  • Janitorial service
  • Fast food restaurants, coffee shops, and restaurants
  • Grocery stores, convenience stores, and retail stores
  • Movie theaters
  • Office work
  • Warehouse
  • Lawn mowing, landscaping, and seasonal farm work
  • Other manual labor

These lower paying jobs are unfortunately not without risk of serious injuries or death because of the nature of the work and the lack of concern for the safety of workers that some of these employers exhibit. Common accidents that teens are involved in include:

  • Sharp knives. Teens who work at fast food restaurants and at other food preparation jobs can suffer serious lacerations and amputations when they work with sharp knives—often under pressure to work at a fast pace.
  • Deep fat fryers and other hot liquids. Splashes or spills of hot oil in deep fat fryers or frying pans, boiling water, and hot beverages can cause teens to suffer serious burns that can result in permanent scarring and disfigurement.
  • Slips and falls. Spills of food and water, debris, slippery floors from cleaning, and merchandise in aisles are common causes of teen worker slip and fall accidents. Those who use ladders when doing manual labor or basic construction jobs or work from heights can suffer catastrophic injuries or death in a fall.
  • Lifting. Teen workers often have to lift heavy boxes, tools, and other objects. This can cause them to suffer back, neck, and spinal injuries caused by overexerting themselves.
  • Repetitive movements. Younger workers who prepare food, run cash registers, lift boxes and other objects, work on a computer, or perform other repetitive movements can suffer many injuries, such as carpel tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, and tendonitis.
  • Chemical hazards. Teens can be exposed to harmful disinfectants, detergents, solvents, paints, and lawn care chemicals that may cause them to suffer chemical burns, or other short-term and long-term consequences of exposure.
  • Weather conditions. Many teens will work outside during the summer months mowing lawns, doing landscaping, or performing other manual labor jobs. They can suffer heat stroke, exhaustion, or other heat-related illnesses—sometimes life-threatening. If they are shoveling snow or performing other work in the cold weather, they can suffer frostbite, hypothermia, or other injuries.
  • Violence. Teens who work at convenience stores, retail businesses, fast food restaurants, and other jobs are at risk of being a victim of violence when someone commits a crime.  Unfortunately, robbery and other theft crimes are more common at these locations. Teens can suffer life-threatening injuries or death in these tragic workplace accidents.

How Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can Help

Are you a teenager who suffered injuries at work? Did your child get injured at his job? He may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to pay his medical bills and lost wages. This is true even if he only works part-time. To learn how I can help file your teenager’s workers’ compensation claim and fight for the benefits he deserves, call my office to schedule a free consultation.

Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer