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Youth in the workforce: Understanding your rights after an injury

There is a first time for everything, and for some people, today, tomorrow or even next week is the first day they'll spend on the job. Young workers may be fresh out of high school or still in school. Some are straight out of vocational programs or college classes. It's important for these new workers to understand the dangers of their jobs and to take steps to avoid injuries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point out that 19.1 million workers were under 24 in 2015, making up 13 percent of the workforce. These workers tend to have higher rates of injuries because of inexperience and a lack of training in good safety practices. Some others may suffer injuries because of psychosocial or biological factors, like being too weak to lift items or not having the cognitive ability to run heavy machinery due to age.

The problem with having young workers on the job who do not have adequate training is that these individuals are at a higher risk of injury. In 2015, 403 workers under the age of 24 were killed in the workplace. Additionally, another 795,000 nonfatal injuries landed workers under 24 in hospitals between 1998 and 2007.

What can you do to prevent injuries in the workplace?

As a young worker, take the time to get to know your job. Ask for help if you need it, and go to safety programs and meetings. You need to pay attention and use the safety practices you're taught. If you are not given training on a machine, don't use it.

What if you believe your employer isn't providing a safe workplace?

If your employer is not taking safety seriously, that's a major concern. You can bring this to the attention of your attorney, and in some cases, you may refuse to work until your employer corrects the hazard that makes your job impossible to perform.

It's up to everyone in the workplace to keep each other safe. By paying attention on the job, reporting hazards and training well, more people can avoid getting hurt while they're at work.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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