Injured Massachusetts teen workers lacked health and safety training: report

teen worker
Photo: Highwaystarz-Photography/iStockphoto

Boston – Nearly half of the teen workers in Massachusetts who were injured on the job between 2011 and 2015 said they did not receive health and safety training from their employer, according to a Massachusetts Department of Public Health annual report on teen worker safety.

Using data from the Young Workers: Injury Surveillance and Prevention Project, researchers examined 156 interviews with teens who were injured at work during the five-year period. Among them, 49 percent said they did not receive work-related health and safety training, and half believe their injury was preventable.

Four industries – accommodation and food service (37 percent), retail trade (19), health care and social assistance (11), and construction (4) – accounted for more than 70 percent of all work-related injuries involving teens in the state.

The nonfatal injury rate for teens is nearly double that of workers who are at least 25 years old, the report states, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report also states that 44 percent of the 81 workers’ compensation claims involving traumatic brain injuries among teens between 1993 and 2015 were recorded in the last five years. This increase in claims may be the result of greater public awareness of concussion symptoms, according to the report.

Restaurants (22 percent) were the most common workplace where teens experienced concussions, followed by grocery stores (17 percent). Twenty-two percent of workers said their injuries happened when they hit their head on an object while standing up or walking. Another 17 percent reported their concussions occurred as a result of a slip or fall.

“Continued efforts are needed to ensure jobs in which teens are employed are safe,” the report states. “And as we engage teens in the workplace – whether as employers, schools, jobs programs or parents with family businesses – we need to provide them with basic health and safety skills that will help protect them now and in the future.”

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