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Teens face rising injury rate on the job

When it comes to work-related injuries, teens who hold summer jobs may be especially at risk. In 2015, slightly more than 400 people under the age of 24 suffered fatal injuries while on the job, according to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration report. Although these findings are not specific to the state of Louisiana, research supports at least one child labor specialist's belief that teens and young adults are more likely than older employees to be injured at work.

Statistics show that an increasing number of teen workplace injuries occurred from 1998 through 2007. Teens holding positions in retail sales, food service, office work, janitorial work and outdoor jobs remain exposed to hazards ranging from slippery floors and hot cooking equipment to biocontamination and violent crime. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that the more than 2 million teens who work in the agriculture industry alone each year are exposed to a variety of farm-related safety hazards on the job.

However, the highest concentration of employed teens is found in the leisure and entertainment industry. Not surprisingly, more teen injuries were reported in connection with the related employment sectors of food service, accommodations and retail than in any other.

In Louisiana and other states, supervision and training could mitigate on-the-job risks to teens in some situations. In at least one state, employees can refuse to perform their job duties when conditions are unsafe and have the right to receive proper training. Regardless, accidents may still occur, and when they do, some teen workers who find themselves injured while on the job may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. An attorney can often help them and their families better navigate the specific steps that must be taken in order receive such benefits.

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