Researchers call for stricter safeguards for youth workers

Aurora, CO – Young workers face dangers on the job due to weak safety oversight, according to a new report from the Colorado School of Public Health.

Researchers found that 88 American and Canadian workers younger than 20 died on the job and 20,000 missed work due to a work-related injury or illness in 2010.

Study lead author Carol Runyan, professor at the Colorado School of Public Health, cited other research indicating that many workers younger than 18 work part of the day without supervision and also lack adequate safety training. Researchers called for stronger federal monitoring of young workers – especially on farms – as well as parental involvement and more research on injury prevention for youths.

The Department of Labor has proposed (.pdf file) restrictions on the type of work young workers are allowed to perform, but the efforts have met resistance in the Senate.

The report appeared in the May/June issue of the journal Public Health Reports.

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