One hundred years ago, 100 workers died each day in America. Today, that number—with a U.S. population 3.5 times greater—is 13. While the loss of many manufacturing and farm jobs explains some of this drop, it doesn’t explain it all. Safety training, education, and regulation works.
Teen workplace fatality rates have also been dropping over time thanks to the efforts of working teens, parents, employers, advocacy groups, and state and federal authorities. Twenty years ago, three times as many teens died at work as they do now.
Teen work deaths are preventable. Avoiding the most dangerous jobs is a starting point, and empowering beginning workers to recognize and avoid dangerous situations is also critical. “I don’t feel safe doing that” is a sentence that every parent should rehearse with their teen before they start a new job.
With vigilance, we can continue to reduce the number of children and teens killed in the workplace.
A final note to the families of victims of workplace fatalities and injuries:
We work with family members of victims of workplace accidents to educate the public so that similar tragedies do not occur. We use the names of victims and specific details of the accidents for the same reason. If you believe that sharing the story of your family member may prevent other accidents, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NCL’s Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens is updated annually using data from NIOSH, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CDC, and other sources. The report’s author is Reid Maki, NCL’s director of child labor advocacy and the coordinator of the Child Labor Coalition. Maki may be reached at email@example.com.