Articles Posted in Injuries among Younger Workers

A number of studies have concluded that injury rates tend to be higher for new workers. For example, The National Safety Council reported just this year that only one in five new workers receive safety training. Certain subgroups of new workers are at especially heightened risk, including those who toil in farming and construction.jail

Study authors note when new workers are performing unfamiliar and sometimes dangerous tasks, they need to be adequately trained – and too often, that’s not happening. Also, workers are often unsure about their rights, and they may not be sure they want to risk speaking up about a possible hazard.

New workers may also be less likely to report work-related injuries when they do occur. This is a mistake because a failure to report the injury right away could diminish the odds of having the company cover the medical costs associated with that injury, or lost wages. Also, reporting injuries forces companies to confront dangers that put all workers at risk, which is important for overall workplace safety.

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A recent investigative report by Buzzfeed details the way in which mail-a-meal tech start-up Blue Apron, in a rush to quickly scale operations, allegedly flouted health and safety rules and failed to protect employees from a violent work environment.Meal

The company, now worth $2 billion, is based in California and ships tens of thousands of meal kits to households across the country each day. Company leaders wanted to alter the way Americans buy, receive, and prepare food, while also slashing food waste and increasing distribution and delivery efficiency. In order to make this happen, the firm had to very quickly hire a huge unskilled workforce. On the surface, this was a good thing. It brought jobs to an economically depressed area. However, the Buzzfeed investigation revealed through dozens of interviews and hundreds of documents that the company may not have been prepared to properly manage those workers and ensure their safety. The result was a spate of health and safety violations for workers.

Like many start-ups – particularly in e-commerce industries – the company reportedly relies heavily on temporary workers. There is also a heavy demand for high work quotas that leave workers exhausted. As these companies grow, wages for workers at the bottom shrink. The growing capital isn’t extended to the lower levels of the company, and that often includes health and safety considerations.

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A North Carolina teen was killed recently Gastonia on his first day on the job at a tree and stump grinding service. treecut

According to ABC-7 News, the 19-year-old was loading limbs of a tree into the wood chipper outside of a job site when the owner of the business and several other workers heard the machine start to get bogged down. Apparently, the youth was trying to kick a tree branch into the machine when his leg got caught and he was pulled in, resulting in fatal injuries. The business owner rushed over, hit the kill switch and put the machine into reverse gear. However, it was too late. Reports are that workers on site were so traumatized, they began ripping off their hats and gloves, while the owner immediately suffered a heart attack and had to be transported to a local hospital.

The tragic case is illustrative of the fact that young workers – especially those new to the job – are at heightened risk of serious injury and death, particularly when they don’t receive proper training and supervision from employers.

A worker advocacy group,, reports every 7 minutes in the U.S., a worker is injured severely enough to require treatment in a hospital emergency room. There are an estimated 1.5 million teen workers in the U.S., with most of them employed in restaurants or other food service jobs. Annually, about 70 teens die in the U.S. as a result of work-related injuries. Another 795,000 are seriously injured. A total of 360 workers under age 24 were killed at work in 2009. Continue reading

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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