Accidents are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 10 and 19. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to accidents at work. A 2006 survey found that 1 in 13 youth had been injured on the job. In 2008, 34 workers under 18 died in the workplace.

Work hazards for teens to be aware of (part of the “Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens” report)

In addition to NCL’s Five Most Dangerous Jobs, we’d like to highlight some additional jobs that teen workers should regard with caution.

 Driver/operator, forklifts, tractors, and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs)

Forklifts, tractors, and all-terrain vehicles (ATV) pose dangers for many young workers. NCL has seen a large number of children injured in ATV accidents in the last several months (whether these are recreational accidents or work-related is often hard to determine from news reports.)

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.
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How are teens dying and getting injured at work?

Transportation accidents, broadly defined to include almost any moving vehicle, killed 19 of the 22 teens under 18 in the latest BLS Fatal Occupational Injuries report covering 2014. All eight of the youth workers who died under 16 in 2014 died in transportation accidents. One of these accidents involved transportation by horses, one involved a boat, three were on roadways, and three were off roadways.

Of the 14 deaths of teenagers aged 16- and 17 years old, 11 were in transportation accidents. Five of these were roadway accidents, three were non-roadway accidents, and one was in a boat. In this age group, one teen died by fire or ignition of vapors/gases.

Oddly, the percentage of transportation accidents that killed 18- and 19-year-old workers was much lower—only half (killing 21 of 42.) “Contact with objects and equipment” (mostly being struck) killed nine of the remaining 21 and “exposure to harmful substances or environments” killed seven. It is important to note this data does not include farm children who die while doing non-paid work on farms for their parents.

Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to accidents both in normal life and at work. Accidents are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 10 and 19. In fact, more youth between 10 and 19 die from injuries than die from all other causes combined.

Teen workers are killed in a shocking variety of ways:

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics for all (including adult) workers suggests that male workers are much more at risk than female.… Read the rest

A five-most-dangerous job for teens: Construction and height work

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics fatality records, construction and roofing are two of the ten most dangerous jobs in America. In 2014, 20.5 percent of all work fatalities—essentially one in five—were in construction, accounting for 874 deaths. A construction worker is nearly three times as likely to die from a work accident as the average American worker.

The leading causes of death on construction sites are falls, electrocution, getting struck by object, and getting caught in-between (a broad category that include cave-ins, getting pulling into machinery, and getting hit by machinery.) These four causes accounted for nearly six in 10 deaths.

Young workers are especially at risk given their relative inexperience on work sites and commonplace dangers construction sites often pose. According to NIOSH in 2002, youth 15-17 working in construction had greater than seven times the risk for fatal injury as youth in other industries. In a 2003 release, NIOSH noted that despite only employing 3 percent of youth workers, construction was the third leading cause of death for young workers—responsible for 14 percent of all occupational deaths to youth under 18.

Labor laws limit the work of 16-and 17-year-olds in construction, but we know from news reports that teens are doing hazardous work and getting hurt.

In June 2009, a 9-year-old Alabama boy at a construction site fell through a skylight and was seriously injured. Press reports did not reveal if the boy was actually working, but according to state inspectors his presence at a site at which minors are prohibited from working is considered evidence of employment under the law.… Read the rest

A five-most-dangerous job for teen workers: Outside helper, landscaping, tree-trimming, groundskeeping, and lawn service

Landscaping and yard work is a frequent entry point into the job market for teenagers. However, the sharp implements and machinery used to do the work present dangers for teens. Often, young workers are left unsupervised for long periods of time. The work can be extremely dangerous.

Recall our the earlier example of Blake Bryant, a 14-year-old who fell 50 feet to his death.

These additional incidents highlight the dangers of outside work:

  • In September 2015, Conner LaPointe, 18, of New Athens, Illinois was operating a commercial mower that rolled into a pond and trapped him beneath it, drowning him.
  • Bradley Hogue, 19, was killed in July 2014 after falling into an augur in Lake Stevens, Washington as he blew bark onto a residential property. It was his second day on the job.
  • In April 2012, a six-year-old, Jeffrey Bourgeois, was helping is father with his landscaping business in Salem, Connecticut. As he placed a branch into a wood chipper, he was instantly pulled to his death.
  • In Fairfax, Virginia, in August 2010, 17-year-old Gregory Malsam was helping a neighbor trim trees when he came in contact with a 19,000-volt power line and was electrocuted. He suffered massive internal injuries and died instantly.
  • In July 2010, 12-year-old Luke Hahn was performing landscaping work with his father at a Tree Farm in Bushkill Township, Pennsylvania when the boy backed a dump truck into the valve of an underground propane tank, creating an explosion that killed him and critically injured his father.
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