North Carolina teen work accidents governed by specific labor laws

The current economy is reflected in the summer employment figures for teenagers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The ratio of teenagers ages 16 to 19 who are expected to be employed this summer has declined from 57 percent to 32.9 percent. The economy has been particularly difficult for teenagers who need to work — the unemployment rate has climbed from 21.8 percent to 25.4 percent over the last year.

Specific state and federal rules govern the employment of teenagers. With the economy in slow recovery, employers pretty much have their choice about who to hire and teenagers may feel additional pressure to keep a job to help pay for school, personal expenses and even family expenses. But when a teenager is injured on the job, an experienced North Carolina injury lawyer or workers’ compensation attorney should be consulted. The University of North Carolina’s Injury Prevention Research Center reports that at least 70 teens are killed each year in work-related accidents nationwide.


Common reasons teens are hurt on the job, include:

-They are asked to do dangerous jobs or use dangerous equipment
-Inadequate training
-Poor Supervision
-Unsafe equipment
-Working too many hours
-Working alone
-Unsafe work environments

Teenagers have a right to:

-Safety in the workplace
-Refuse to work if they feel unsafe
-Work the proper hours and types of jobs allowed by law
-Use safe and properly maintained equipment
-Receive proper training
-Be paid at least the minimum wage
-Receive workers’ compensation benefits and payment for medical care if they are injured or get sick on the job
-Work in an environment free of racial and sexual harassment

North Carolina employment law generally prohibits minors from working in the following jobs:

-Explosives -Mining
-Logging
-Operating many power-driven machines
-Operating a motor vehicle
-Working with dangerous material
-Meat packaging -Manufacturing brick or tile
-Working with power saws
-Demolition
-Roofing
-Welding
-Excavation
-Machinery work in processing plants
-Working on ladders or scaffolding above 10 feet
-Electrical work -Work in confined spaces
-Using a respirator -Preparing or serving alcoholic beverages

Minors ages 14 and 15 can work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year and between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. during the summer. While school is in session, they can work up to 18 hours per week but are limited to three hours per day. During the summer, they cannot exceed 40 hours a week or 8 hours a day. Teens ages 16 and 17 are permitted to work anytime except between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on a school day.

If you are dealing with a work accident involving a teenager in North Carolina or are dealing with a worker’s compensation or disability claim, contact the Law Offices of Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.

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