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Younger Workers Often at High Risk for Occupational Injury

Rate of nonfatal injuries treated in emergency rooms twice as high in younger workers

FRIDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Younger workers (15 to 24 years of age) are often employed in jobs that place them at high risk for injury, and employers should ensure that they can safely perform their jobs by identifying and mitigating safety hazards, according to a report published in the April 23 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers from the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health analyzed data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System occupational supplement from between 1998 and 2007.

The researchers found that 5,719 younger workers died of occupational injuries during the period. Younger workers' fatality rate was 3.6 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, versus 4.4 per 100,000 for workers aged 25 and older. During the study period, there was an estimated 14 percent decrease in the fatality rate. In addition, younger workers were treated in emergency departments for approximately 7.9 million nonfatal injuries. The nonfatal injury rate for younger workers was five emergency-department-treated injuries per 100 full-time equivalent workers, which was about two times higher than the corresponding rate among workers aged 25 and older.

"Public health, labor, and trade organizations should provide guidance to employers to help them in their responsibilities to provide safer workplaces and should identify steps that employers can take to remove or reduce injury hazards," the authors write. "Employers need to ensure that their younger workers have the requisite training and personal protective equipment to perform their jobs safely."

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