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Restaurants, Grocery Stores & Retail Stores (Segment from NCL’s Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens 2012)

In terms of raw numbers, retail establishments, restaurants, and grocery stores are three of the largest employers of teen workers. While not a “most dangerous” job for teens, these workplaces can be dangerous.

According to 2009 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 44 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds work in the “leisure/hospitality” sector, mostly in restaurants and other food service. Nearly one in four (24 percent) work in retail jobs. Not surprisingly, a lot of teen occupational injuries occur in those two sectors. Nationally, nearly half of teenagers injured on the job work in restaurants or other “leisure/hospitality” companies. Three in 10 work in retail establishments.

The Massachusetts teen worker survey mentioned previously found similar results: among the accommodation and food service sector and the retail trade sector accounted for 58 percent of the workers’ compensation lost wages claims because of injuries.

In a 2007 article in Pediatrics by Carol Runyan, et al., based on a phone survey of 14- to 18-year-olds employed in the retail and service sectors found that “despite federal regulations prohibiting teens under 18 from using certain types of dangerous equipment (e.g., slicers, dough mixers, box crushers, paper balers) or serving or selling alcohol in places where it is consumed, 52 percent of males and 43 percent of females reported having performed [more than one] prohibited task.”

Many teens work in restaurants are at risk of burns and other kitchen-related injuries. In some states, restaurants rank first in the number of youth work injuries, although the injuries are often less severe than in many of the occupations cited in this report.… Read the rest

Driver/Operator, Forklifts, Tractors, and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)–One of the Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens 2012

Forklifts, tractors, and all-terrain vehicles pose dangers for many young workers. Several youth tractor accidents have been detailed in our section on agricultural fatalities and injuries. Some examples of forklift and vehicle accidents involving youth:

• On May 11, 2009, Miguel Herrera-Soltera drove a forklift up a ramp when it tipped over. The boy fell out of the forklift which landed on top of him. Fellow workers used another forklift to extricate the boy but he died at the hospital.
• Nathan Lundin, 12, died in Gifford, Indiana in March 2009, when he was struck by an object falling off a moving forklift at his family’s business, Upright Iron Works, Inc.
• In March 2008, a 15-year-old boy suffered a serious leg injury in a Portland, Oregon wrecking lot when a 17-year-old co-worker operating a front loader knocked over a stack of cars and part of a concrete wall collapsed onto the younger boy. No one under 18 is allowed to work in an auto wrecking area, or operate a front loader, according to The Oregonian newspaper.
• John Sanford, 18, a forklift operator in Toledo mistakenly thought he put his forklift in park. The machine was in neutral and when Sanford walked in front of it, he was pinned between a trash receptacle and the lift and killed. (December 2007)
• A 17-year-old in California died when the forklift he was operating rolled over on him. The youth had only been employed one hour and misguidedly took the initiative to operate the forklift.… 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