Parental Communication about Work Dangers Can Reduce Teen Injuries at Work in Charlotte

A recent article in the Atlantic reported on a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health on how unprepared parents are to help their kids stay safe in the work place. As many as 80 percent of teens have jobs while they are in high school but are grossly unaware of the potential on-the-job dangers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that annually nearly 146,000 teens are injured while on the job and around 70 others are killed in the workplace.
Our Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyers know there are few more terrifying feelings than finding out your teen has been seriously injured or killed on the job in North Carolina.

The co-author of the journal article, Michael Schulman, an occupational-injury expert from North Carolina State University says, “There’s just a huge information gap in terms of parents knowing what’s going on in the workplace right now. Parents are very active in helping kids find a job, but there’s a big drop off in involvement after.”

Schulman collaborated with several others on the study which entailed interviewing a representative sample of 922 pairs of parents and working teens (14 to 18 years of age). They discovered that more than 70 percent of the parents assisted their teens in finding and landing a job. But fewer than half of the parents discussed with their teens about hazards in the workplace and child-labor laws.

Schulman adds, “Health and safety on the job is the responsibility of the employer. But what we’re arguing is that parents need to become better mentors and advocates to assist teens during this transition from the home to the workplace.”

The study suggests that parents need to talk to their teens about a job’s working conditions and training. And it would be a good idea to check on a company’s observance of child-labor laws. Parents should make sure if their teens work in retail or service-oriented jobs that they are trained to handle risks such as disgruntled customers, what to do in the event of a robbery and using dangerous equipment.

The study revealed that less than 10 percent of teens told their parents about potential workplace hazards. Teens are often fearful to protest workplace conditions because they want to act like an adult and not be a complainer. It is vital that working teens have an open dialogue with their parents about workplace safety.

Parents, though, need to offer advice when their teen has a concern about their workplace but should resist the desire to get involved. Parents need to find the balance between being responsible versus overprotective. They need to encourage their teen to voice safety concerns at work to their boss.

If you are dealing with a work accident involving a teenager in North Carolina or are dealing with a workers’ compensation or disability 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.

Additional Resources:

Caution: Your Child’s First Job May Be Hazardous to Her Health by Hans Villarica, The Atlantic

Young Workers at High Risk of Greensboro Work Injuries, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, June 21, 2011

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