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Massachusetts Teens at Risk For On-The-Job Injuries

Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released results of a study that shows that teen workplace injuries in Massachusetts continue to be a major problem. Although the rate of injuries among teens is declining, the Department found the rate is twice that for older workers.

According to a Boston Globe article, about 30 percent of teen injuries occur in retail jobs, and another 30 percent occur in hotel, restaurant or food-service jobs, the most common workplaces for teen workers.

Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels, of the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), recently stated: “Every five days, one teen worker is killed on the job, and more than 200,000 young workers are injured yearly – numbers that are double and sometimes triple that for any other age category.”

According to the Massachusetts Department of Health, numbers from 2004 through 2008 show three teens under age 18 were fatally injured at work and slightly more than 4,000 required hospital emergency room visits for work-related injuries. In 2009, 19% of 15- to 17-year-olds in Massachusetts were employed at any given time.

Keeping our young employees safe is critical.While there are specific jobs that teens are prohibited from performing, some companies may still employ them in those roles. Some examples: in Massachusetts, no one under 18 can use a power-driven meat slicer, no one under age 18 is permitted to work in roofing, and anyone under age 16 is prohibited from loading or unloading trucks.

Training for teens is important for preventing workplace injuries. Many employees do not offer safety training to young employees, even though many of the positions they fill are inherently risky, such as dishwashers working on slippery floors in restaurant kitchens.Statistics show that taking the time to offer even a few hours of training can limit on-the-job injuries.

The employment laws in Massachusetts protect teenage workers, as well as their older co-workers.Teens are able to draw workers’ compensation insurance if they are injured on the job.Workers’ compensation may cover medical treatment and wages the worker would have earned had the injury not occurred.

In the Winter 2011 report, “Teens at Work: Injury Surveillance and Prevention Project,” the Massachusetts Dept. of Health noted there were 968 workers’ compensation lost wage claims filed by teens under age 18 for injuries resulting in five or more lost work days.

It is especially critical for young employees to receive the necessary medical care to recover from their injuries quickly.Our Massachusetts workplace injury attorneys believe it is also important to contact an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer if you or your teenaged children have been injured at work. The MA work accident lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. represent individuals injured in the course of their employment.

About Our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

For more than 20 years, Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., has represented the interests of injured and ill workers throughout Massachusetts, including but not limited to Boston, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Plymouth and Merrimack River. We also represent Rhode Island and New Hampshire residents whose injuries occurred in Massachusetts or who were hired in Massachusetts but who were injured out of state.

For a free case evaluation of your workers’ compensation claim, please complete our online form or call Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., toll-free at 800-367-0871 to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

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