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Conclusion: Teen Occupational Safety Efforts are Working But Vigilance is Needed

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. 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. Fifteen years ago, twice as many teen workers died each year. With vigilance, we can continue to reduce the number of children and teens killed in the work place. … Read the rest

Teen Deaths from Driving (Segment from NCL’s Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens 2012 Report)

The most common way for a teen worker to die is in a traffic accident. In 2010, 32,708 Americans—about 90 a day—died in car accidents. Fifteen of the 34 youth workers under 18 who died in 2010—44 percent—perished in motor vehicle accidents.

In July 2010 in Okmulgee Country, Oklahoma, 16-year-old Troy Don Kimbley was killed when the tow truck he was driving overturned on a curve and turned over two and a half times before coming to rest on its top.

NCL encourages young workers to look for jobs in which they do not drive, are not regularly driven by others, or are not driven great distances.

When in a car, young workers should always wear their seat belt.

They should also demand that their driver focus on their driving and not be distracted by using cell phones, eating, or other disruptions. They should insist that the driver obey traffic laws and drive at safe speeds.

According to several studies, the perception that driving in rural areas is safe is very misleading. Rural crashes are more frequent and more severe on a per capita or per mile basis. One report estimated that some rural counties are 100 times more dangerous than many urban counties.… Read the rest

Introduction to NCL’s Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens 2012 Report

In late July 2011, two 14-year-olds girls, Jade Garza and Hannah Kendall went off to their temporary job of detasseling corn in a field in northwestern Illinois where they worked for the Monsanto Corporation. The girls were close friends and performing a job that many teens in the Midwest perform safely. The day was not especially unusual except the field was very wet. Somehow, one of the girls made contact with a center-pivot irrigation system that had become charged with electricity. A tremendous current went through her body. The second girl went to help and was electrocuted. Within seconds, the two girls were dead. A 13-year-old boy, working nearby wanted to help but realized that if he touched them, he would die too.

Their friends, their teachers, their families were devastated. In a typical year, 25-35 children die at work in the U.S. Fifteen years ago, that number was over 70.

This report is an attempt to educate the public about workplace dangers teen workers face with the hope that teenagers, their parents, and employers can work together to reduce accidents and fatalities. Summer jobs can contribute meaningfully to a child’s development and maturity and teach new skills and responsibilities, but the safety of each job must be a consideration.
In the following pages, the National Consumers League (NCL) identifies five teen jobs that are more dangerous than most and provides tips to help teens improve their chances of having a safe and rewarding work experience.… Read the rest