North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers Blog

Articles Posted in Injuries among Younger Workers

A new study conducted by the RN Work Project, recently published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, found that newer nurses may be at higher risk for injuries than their more experienced counterparts. nurses.jpg

It’s been well-established that those within the nursing profession face a high risk of work injury both within North Carolina and nationally. Some of the more common, non-fatal injuries include:

  • Strains
  • Sprains
  • Needle sticks

But this research discovered newly-licensed nurses may be subject to a higher likelihood of hazards, mostly due to heavier workloads, longer hours and inexperience.
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A large number of American workers spend their days in an office, sitting at a chair, staring at a computer. While repetitive stress injuries, including carpal tunnel, are a rising source of workers’ compensation claims, there are other “tech injuries” that are becoming a growing health concern for physicians, employees, as well as employers. Tech injuries are not only caused by certain postures we use when hunched over laptops, tablets, and mobile devices, but other strains on the body that could take their toll over the years, and decades.


According to a 2010 study, children who were looking at screens more than 2 hours per day were 60% more likely to have a psychological problem in later years. Kids between the ages of 11 to 16 who used iPads suffered back pain. Another study found that 84 percent of young persons, aged 18 to 24 suffered back pain, which lost in an average of 1.5 working days lost per year. These are only a few of the myriad injuries that can set in on younger and older users. With more Americans working on computers rather than performing heavy labor activities, workers’ compensation claims are changing as well. Here are some common “tech injuries” reported by American physicians:
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Highway construction workers face some of the most dangerous conditions every time they head to work–speeding trucks, distracted driving, drunk driving, and generally reckless drivers can put the lives of construction workers at risk. In a tragic case, a South Carolina member of a highway construction crew was struck in a fatal hit and run accident. According to reports, the crew was re-paving Highway 170 around 2:00 a.m. when a Pontiac came speeding through the work site. The driver crashed into the crew and killed a 53-year-old worker. An immediate investigation was launched to catch and apprehend the driver.


Later in the early morning, a 28-year-old female driver was picked up in a traffic stop. She is being charged with hit and run involving a death and felony DUI, criminal allegations that could result in serious penalties upon conviction. This case is still under investigation and the South Carolina Highway Patrol is encouraging any witnesses or individuals with additional information to come forward.
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Firefighters risk their lives every time they head out on an emergency call. Not knowing what to expect on the scene, many will face high-levels of stress in addition to dangerous circumstances. In a recent case, a South Carolina firefighter and paramedic suffered a heart attack in the bunkroom of his station and died after he went into cardiac arrest. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), the 29-year-old firefighter had responded to several emergency calls and worked on a fire prevention detail only hours before he died of the fatal heart attack.


Though fellow paramedics and responders tried to save the firefighter, their attempts were unsuccessful. According to reports, the cause of death was listed as “over exertion.” When a worker suffers from a heart attack while on the job, compensation can be more complicated, depending on the facts of the case. The workers’ compensation system allows workers to collect lost wages, hospital expenses, and wrongful death benefits without having to prove fault. Any worker is entitled to workers’ compensation so long as they were injured while in the course of performing work-related duties. When an employee suffers from a heart attack, the individual circumstances are important to determine whether it is a compensable event.
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The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration not long ago released a report indicating that welders are at serious risk of an on-the-job injury.
Burns were among the most common injuries, though fume damage to lungs, UV light damage to eyes and noise damage to ears also occurred with frightening frequency.

The fact that we are well aware of the kinds of welding-related injuries to North Carolina workers make it all the more upsetting when employers fail to make safety a top priority. Yet that’s reportedly the case at a large welding firm in Connecticut, where federal OSHA officials have fined the company nearly $170,000 for violating a host of workplace safety regulations.
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With summer break quickly approaching, our teens will be heading back into the workforce. To prepare youth for the 21st century workforce, the Employment and Training Administration, Office of Workforce Investment, Division of Youth Services coordinates youth workforce development investments.
Amid getting our young ones ready for summer jobs, officials with the White House push Summer Jobs+. This is a program that helps to get assistance from companies, non-profit organizations and government officials to work together to get more jobs to low-income and disconnected youth. These young employees are between the ages of 16 and 24, have had close to 200,000 jobs created for them through the effort.

“America’s young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they’ve got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job,” said President Barack Obama.

Our Rock Hill workers’ compensation lawyers understand that it’s an excellent opportunity for these young adults. Working teaches them independence and responsibility, but we have to make sure that they’re protected on the job and that they understand their rights as an American worker.

Workplace hazards associated with specific jobs are another major cause of injuries and illnesses. Employers must work to reduce or minimize hazards while training employees to work safely on the job.

Safe work is rewarding work. Your employer has the responsibility to provide a safe workplace for you. Companies and employers are required to follow all OSHA safety and health standards to help to prevent you from being injured, becoming ill on the job or getting killed on the job. If you are under age 18, there may be limits on the hours you work, the jobs you do and the equipment you use.

Your Rights as a Youth Worker:

-You have the right to work in a safe environment.

-You have the right to get the proper health and safety training. It’s required to be presented in a language that you best understand to keep you safe on the job.

-You have the right to ask questions if you don’t understand anything at work.

-You have the right to be provided with the proper safety gear and with the training and knowledge to use it correctly.

-You have the right to speak up and to voice concerns about your safety on the job without fear of discrimination or retaliation.

-You have the right to file a complaint with OSHA if you feel like your employer isn’t keeping you safe on the job or if they aren’t following any of the federal safety standards.

So you know your rights and you’re ready to get out there and make some money, now it’s time to get proactive and to make sure you’re safe on the job. If you spot unsafe conditions, make sure you report them. If you’re provided with safety gear, make sure you wear it. Always follow the rules of the workplace, make sure you’re asking questions and get some help if you need it. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Your safety relies on it.
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For a young person looking for employment, there are a limited array of available options. One industry that reliably hires and employs young workers, however, is the restaurant industry. Young workers routinely take jobs in fast food, as bus boys or dishwashers, as waitresses and waiters or at other roles within all types of restaurants. 1341160_hotel_fasade_1.jpg

Unfortunately, OSHA indicates that young workers employed in restaurants are in a risky environment. Hazards exist in all aspects of the food service industry, including drive-thru work, clean-up, serving customers, cooking, delivery and food preparation. These hazards can become worse and much more dangerous if employers do not train their employees or do not follow proper safety precautions. Our Spartanburg workers’ compensation attorneys urge everyone to pay careful attention to what restaurants are doing. Young workers who work in these facilities, often for minimum wage, also need to understand some of the key risks that they face.

Restaurant Injuries and Young Workers
According to OSHA, potential hazards on the job site at restaurants may include:

  • Strains and sprains as a result of lifting heavy trays, twisting out of place to reach items on high shelves or bending.
  • Slips and falls as a result of wet floors or debris in walkways.
  • Burn injuries and scalding injuries from serving or preparing hot foods.
  • Respiratory or other health problems from breathing in car exhaust when working a drive-thru window.
  • Cuts from using knives to prepare food.
  • Electrical injuries such as from using dishwashers or other kitchen appliances in the preparation of food.
  • Heat exhaustion from serving or delivering food outdoors.
  • Frostbite or hypothermia from working in freezers, stocking or cold-storage areas.
  • Repetitive stress injury from serving, standing for long periods of time or other movements that put stress on the joints and muscles.
  • Workplace violence due to robberies.

These are just some of the many different types of workplace injuries that young workers in the restaurant industry are susceptible to experiencing. Restaurants are busy places with lots of customers and lots of potential hazards. It is essential that employees exercise care for their own safety when in the workplace, but it is even more important for employers to create a safe working environment and healthy conditions for all of their workers.

Keeping Kids Safe from Restaurant Workplace Injuries
It is imperative that employers follow all OSHA guidelines regarding work conditions and child labor to protect young workers. For example, workers under age 16 are generally limited from performing late-night work, especially during the school year. Workers under the age of 18 may also be prohibited from using certain type of restaurant and food-service equipment such as electronic meat slicers.

If a young worker does fall victim to a workplace accident, he or she should be sure to understand the legal rights available. Young workers, even those who are working part time, may be covered under state workers’ compensation laws and entitled to make a claim to have medical bills and disability costs covered.
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The North Carolina State’s Centennial Campus witnessed a fatal work accident recently.

It happened when a worker got trapped under several feet of dirt while completing a trench project, according to NBC 17. The North Carolina State Police report that workers were hired with J.F. Wilkerson Contracting in Morrisville. They were installing a 16-inch, 18,000-foot line pipe when the trench collapsed. The accident site was near the intersection of Achievement and Main Campus Drive. The 39-year-old worker wasn’t recovered by emergency responders until about two and a half hours after arriving on the scene of the accident. They had to vacuum out the soil from the trench. They weren’t able to approach it any other way because of the unstable ground conditions.

Our Raleigh workers’ compensation lawyers understand that there were close to 300 workers who were killed in trenching and excavation accidents in the U.S. from 2000 to 2006.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 70 percent of these fatalities occur within companies that have less than 50 employees. Regulations and consensus standards describe engineering controls, protective equipment, and safe work practices to minimize hazards for workers during trench work and excavations. Employers need to make sure that they know these regulations inside and out before starting any project. The safest of their employees relies on it.

The project is run by the City of Raleigh. These water lines were eventually going to lead to Lonnie Poole Golf Course.

The company hired for the job was recognized back in 2006 as an overall winner for a national safety award by the National Utility Contractors Association.

Joe Wilkerson, the founder of the company, said that he decided to make safety a number one priority when he saw his company noted for having a poor safety record in The News & Observer in the 1970s.

This isn’t the first time the company has worked with the city either. In the project’s case, they were the lowest responsible bidder and were therefore chosen for the job.

The truth of the matter is that these kinds of jobs are extremely dangerous and require the utmost attention to detail to ensure that all workers are safe! It’s important to make sure that all workers are properly trained. The job needs to be planned well in advance and the proper safety equipment needs to be provided to workers at no cost. There should never be any workers under the age of 18 in these trenches. Companies are also urged to call 8-1-1 before digging into the ground to avoid hitting any utility line and to avoid causing a serious accident. Trenches should never be approached or entered when unprotected. Safety is a group effort. Make sure your employer and your fellow coworkers keep safety as a number one priority!
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Developers, students and anyone else who’s good with a computer has been invited by the U.S. Department of Labor to enter the Workplace Safety and Health Challenge.

Officials are looking for a tool that can help to effectively demonstrate the importance of recognizing and working to prevent on-the-job dangers for young people across the country. Safety advocates are also asking designers to help young workers to understand their rights in the workplace. If you want to enter, all you have to do is create a tool that can be used on smartphones and Internet browsers, or even one just for social media platforms. You have until the 30th of November to do so. You can make this a game, you can make it an app, or you can make it a social game.
“New technologies have the promise of making our safety and health resources even more accessible for workers and employers,” said the assistant secretary of labor OSH, Dr. David Michaels.

Our Greensboro workers’ compensation lawyers understand how critical it is to make sure that our young workers are well aware of their rights and their responsibilities on the job. All too often, these workers are hesitant to speak up about work and safety concerns in fear of causing a commotion or being disciplined. The truth of the matter is that voicing these kinds of concerns should be encouraged. Employers are not allowed, federally, to take disciplinary actions against an employee for discussing safe work practices and other similar topics.

In 2010, there were close to 18 million workers who were under the age of 24 in the U.S. These workers account for close to 15 percent of the workforce nationwide. These workers are also at some serious risks for work accidents because of their inexperience and their unfamiliarity with their rights. In 2009, there were close to 400 workers under the age of 24 who were killed because of injuries sustained on the job. Close to 50 of these fatalities involved workers who were under the age of 18. In addition to these fatalities, there were another 800,000 young workers injured on the job during this time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Each Submission for the Worker Safety and Health Challenge Must:

-Demonstrate the importance of being educated in workplace health and safety hazards.

-Inform these young workers about common hazards that can be found on the job.

-Inform young employees about the consequences of on-the-job injuries.

-Youth work accident, injuries and fatalities statistics from OSHA.

-Must address state workers’ compensation programs and/or other government sources.

Make sure you talk with your teen about their rights on the job. Being an educated worker can help to reduce your risks of a work accident and can help to make the workplace safer!
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There are close to 20 million workers in the United States who are under the age of 25.

According to, these young workers account for less than 20 percent of the country’s workforce. Yet in 2009 there were close to 400 workers between the ages of 13 and 24 who died because of injuries sustained while at work. There were also another 80,000 injuries required medical attention sustained on the job by these young employees.

The truth of the matter is that the rate of emergency room-treated work injuries is twice as high for workers under the age of 25 than for workers who are older. Workers, especially our younger ones, need to be aware of the dangers, the risks and the hazards that can be found on their job site. They also need to be aware of what preventative and safety measures can be taken so that they can protect themselves.

Our Charlotte workers compensation attorneys understand that, many times, these workers aren’t aware of their rights to a safe workplace. It’s important that we help to make sure that our young workers are safe on the job and they know their rights. Knowledge is key to preventing work accidents.
Officials with the Department of Labor (DOL) are asking young workers to get involved. They are asking teens and young adults to find a way to get work safety information out to their peers. They’re asked to use inforomation that is publicly available via the federal government. It’s a new contest and it comes with some pretty cool prizes!

Contest Rules:

-Provide your submission with tools that help to demonstrate just how important it is that you know about workplace safety and health dangers and hazards.

-This information should include educational materials to not only warn young workers about the dangers that can be found on the job, but the risks for injury and death that accompany these risks. Information from your state’s State Worker’s Compensation data, from NIOSH, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics or from OSHA are required to be incorporated into your submission.

-You must address the importance of preventative measures, like personal protection equipment (PPE) and other engineering controls.

-Provide tools that will help young workers to better understand their rights on the job.

-Submissions are asked to be creative and simple to use. They’re also asked to be cited and should target the ages of 13 to 24, but should also be able to effectively communicate the same information to workers of all ages.

There will be four prizes awarded, totaling more than $30,000. There will be 1 Grand Price, 2 Category Prices and 1 People’s Choice Award.

Contest and programs like this are so important because our young working population faces some serious risks for accidents.
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