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Teens Injured on Job Highlight Safety Lapses

Study urges better training and standards to avoid potential dangers

MONDAY, Aug. 28, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- A study of nearly 7,000 American teens found that more than half of them have jobs and that 514 of them had been injured at work, which indicates that work-related injuries among youth are a serious health issue, researchers say.

Of the injured teens, 150 were hurt seriously enough to affect their activities at home, school and work for more than three days, and 97 filed for worker's compensation.

Teens were most likely to be injured in: lumber mills (51 percent); lumber yards (40 percent); gas stations (36 percent); someone else's farm (36 percent); and construction (30 percent).

"Developing programs and strategies to reduce injury must be made a priority," Kristina M. Zierold, assistant professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winton-Salem, N.C., said in a prepared statement.

She noted that on-the-job training usually falls far short of what's needed and that there are no standards governing safety training.

"This type of training usually consists of explaining how to do the work and how to work the equipment, without emphasis on safety issues. In other instances, no training is given at all, Zierold said."

She suggested safety training courses be introduced into school health curriculums.

"Training would emphasize how to identify work-related hazards, how to protect themselves from hazards, and how to address their supervisors with their safety concerns. With the right safety training, teens could feel empowered at the workplace by knowing their rights and how to protect themselves," Zierold said.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Health Behavior.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has advice for parents on how to make sure their teen's job is safe.

SOURCE: Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, news release, Aug. 21, 2006
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