Young Workers at High Risk of Greensboro Work Injuries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 13 percent of the 17.5 million people in the workforce in 2010 was comprised of workers 23 or under. Our Greensboro workers’ compensation lawyers know that lack of experience and failure to train properly puts young workers at a high risk of being injured on the job in North Carolina.

In 2009, the CDC reported 359 fatalities among young workers younger than 24 suffering from a work-related injury. That includes 27 deaths for workers younger than 18. From 1998 to 2007, there was an average of 795,000 work-related injuries for young workers treated at hospital emergency rooms each year. In fact, the injury rate is two times higher for this age group than 25 and older when it comes to work injuries requiring a trip to the emergency room.

Leisure and hospitality was the most popular industry for youth (ages 15-17) employment in 2009, with 44 percent of all youth employed in restaurants and other food service jobs. The retail trade industry accounted for 24 percent of all youth employment. Examples of injuries or illnesses that can occur in the restaurant industry are slipping or falling on wet floors, cuts from sharp utensils, burns or injuries from using hot stoves or grills, inhalation of cleaning aids or food poisoning. Some of the leading causes of injury in the retail business include lifting, handling heavy boxes or other objects, hand or power tools, slips, trips or falls.

Employers have a responsibility to provide young workers with proper training and a safe work environment. WorkSafeBC offers the following summer work accident prevention tips for employers offering jobs to young workers in the restaurant or retail industry:

Restaurant industry tips:

-Put up cautionary signs around wet floors or when spills occur. Emphasize that workers should keep floors clean and swept, keep garbage cans emptied and provide non-slip footwear to employees.

-Train young workers to choose the right knife for specific cutting jobs. Hold the knife with their dominant hand, cut away from their body, use a cutting board and store knives securely when they aren’t in use.

-Provide employees with proper mitts or dry gloves when using hot pans or skillets. Train young workers about the dangers of overheating oil, to always open lids away from their body and don’t let handles stick out away from the cooking service.

-Workers should never put wet utensils or drop anything into hot oil. Make sure no oil is dripped on the floor by allowing hot oil to drip completely off the frying basket before removal. Place anti-slip floor mats or treatments on surfaces where cooking is taking place.

-Instruct young workers not to strain when lifting heavy objects. Either ask for help or bend at the knees before lifting boxes or bags if a dollie or cart is not available.

Retail industry tips:

-Inform employees of all potential dangers involved with the job which can include: musculoskeletal injuries, falling off stepladders, hazardous products, power tools and equipment, sharp cutters, lifting and handling of heavy boxes or equipment.

-Keep working area clean and uncluttered.

-Instruct your employee to ask ask a supervisor for help if they don’t know how to perform a task.

-Provide young workers with protective equipment and explain how each item should be worn or used during specific tasks.

-Instruct workers to check all tools or equipment before using for malfunction or cracks that can cause injury while working. Train employees on proper technique and how to operate all tools and equipment safely and responsibly.

If you or a loved one has been injured at work, or have a workers’ compensation claim, contact the Lee Law Offices, P.A. for assistance regarding your case. Call 1-800-887-1965 for a free initial consultation to discuss your rights today.

More Blog Entries:

Safe Work Environments can Reduce Risk of North Carolina Work Injuries, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, June 17, 2011

Power Tools Often Cause Workplace Injuries to North Carolina Workers, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, June 15, 2011

North Carolina Youth Carnival Ends in Tragedy – Teen Work Accidents a Summer Danger, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, May 16, 2011

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