When looking at the risk of serious injury or even death on the job, studies have found that young workers face an elevated level of risk when compared to their older coworkers. With millions of young people working during the summer and even through the school year, this is something that safety officials cannot ignore.

One important area to dig into is why the risks are higher for younger workers. What is it that makes them more prone to these serious accidents? A few reasons include:

  • They simply do not have as much experience as older workers.
  • They may face physical challenges due to their smaller size.
  • They could lack the strength and ability to use certain types of equipment and machinery.
  • The personal protective equipment that was designed for adults — hardhats, gloves and safety glasses, for instance — may not fit young workers correctly.
  • Young people’s brains are still developing and their cognitive control systems may not equal those of the adults they work with.
  • Young workers tend to underestimate the risks, meaning they may engage in behaviors that older workers would know to avoid.

You also have to consider that young workers often feel like they are not in a position of power and they need to defer to older workers. For instance, while an experienced adult may tell his or her boss that a ladder isn’t safe and needs to be replaced, a teen may not recognize the dangers or may not feel comfortable saying something even if they do.

Have you lost a child in a workplace accident? It’s a tragic event that no parent should ever have to go through, and you need to know what legal rights you have.