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.

Agriculture: Other types of farm work—Harvesting crops and using machinery

Despite perceptions that farms are safe, wholesome places for children, farms are actually quite dangerous workplaces. They are the most dangerous workplace that large numbers of children are allowed to work, beginning at age 12, because of lax child labor laws in the U.S.

According to the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety about every three days a child dies in an agricultural-related incident, and every day about 38 children are injured on farms. About 80 percent of the nearly 8,000 injured youth in 2012 were not working when the injury occurred, notes the Children’s Center, which suggests that over 1,500 youth were working for wages when they were injured on the farm.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in 2012 more than 955,400 youth lived on the 2.2 million farms in the U.S.; 49 percent of these youth worked on their farm. About 258,800 non-resident youth were hired in agriculture that year (an increase of over 28,000 youth workers from the prior year.)

Americans are reluctant to admit it, but farms are very dangerous. Agriculture is consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous industries in America. In its 2008 edition of Injury Facts, The National Safety Council (NSC) ranked it as the most dangerous industry with 28.7 deaths per 100,000 adult workers. The fatality rate among youth workers in 2009—21.3 per 100,000 fulltime employees—means it the most dangerous sector that youth under 18 are allowed to work in.

According to NIOSH data from 1995 to 2002, about 115 youth under 20 died on farms each year and about 15,876 farm related injuries occur to that age group.… Read the rest

Tobacco harvester — A five-most-dangerous job for teens

 A 12-year-old cannot legally buy cigarettes in the U.S., but they are allowed to work in a tobacco field for 10- to 12- hours a day in 100-degree heat and suffer repeated bouts of nicotine poisoning. This is legal because of decades-old exemptions to U.S. child labor laws that apply to agriculture. Teen tobacco workers do not die at the highest rate, but they do feel as if they are dying in large numbers.

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A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, “Tobacco’s Hidden Children: Hazardous Child Labor in United States Tobacco Farming,” published in May 2014 found that three quarters of 141 child tobacco workers interviewed in North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee—the main tobacco-producing states—reported getting sick while working on U.S. tobacco farms. Many of their symptoms—nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headaches, and dizziness—are consistent with acute nicotine poisoning (also known as “Green Tobacco Sickness”.) A frequent comment from child tobacco workers who experience this illness is, “I thought I was going to die.”

Child tobacco workers often use dangerous, sharp tools and can work in tobacco drying barns at heights without protective equipment as they balance precariously on the top of wood beams that may be only one or two inches thick.

In addition to nicotine, farmworker children may also be absorbing a range of toxic pesticides commonly used in tobacco fields. Children often wear black garbage bags to protect them from these dual exposures but you can imagine what it’s like to wear a plastic bag in the 90- and 100-degree temperatures often found in tobacco fields.… Read the rest

Introduction: Teens continue to get killed and hurt at work

[Section 1 of the “Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens” Report 2016]

Nearly 5,000 workers die on the job each year—each day, an average of 13 workers are killed on the job—some of those workers are teenagers. Each of those deaths are torture for the friends and family of the child worker.

Thousands of children are hurt on the job each year. Many parents don’t think about their children getting hurt at work, but according to the Children’s Safety network, about every 9 minutes, a U.S. teen is hurt on the job.

In a typical year, 20-30 children die on the job in the U.S. Twenty years ago, that number was over 70 per year. In 2012, 29 children died while working. In 2013, that number fell sharply to 14, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The National Consumers League (NCL) was curious—and hopeful—to see if that drastic drop in fatalities would continue, but sadly, it did not.

According to the BLS data for 2014, the most recent data that is available, 21 young workers under the age of 18 died in the U.S.—a 50 percent increase over the prior year. Although alarming, the 50 percent increase in the number of teen deaths between 2013 and 2014 would seem to represent a reversion to recent average fatality totals and the 2013 drop would seem to be an aberration. The increase bears watching however to ensure that the number does not continue to climb.

More than one-third of young worker fatalities in 2014, eight, were under the age of 16.… Read the rest

NCL’s Five Most Dangerous Teen Jobs

The National Consumers League publishes its annual list of the Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens to help youth workers and parents understand that work often involves unexpected health and safety risks and that teenagers, parents, and employers can take steps to minimize those risks.

NCL’s Five Most Dangerous Teen Jobs in 2016 are:

The Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens are not ranked in order. They all share above average injury or fatality rates or present a work environment that is dangerous.

In the following sections, we discuss the dangers of these jobs.… Read the rest