Data from a recent study by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggest that further research is needed to ensure that younger workers are protected while on the job.
According to the data, non-fatal injuries amongst 15 to 24-year-olds is much higher than that of the 25- to 44-year-old age group. In fact, the data shows that young workers are up to 2.3 times more likely to be injured on the job.
In the course of the study, researchers discovered that between 2012 and 2018, 3.2 million non-fatal occupational injuries occurred in workers between the ages of 15-24. Within this age range, those most likely to be injured on the job were 18 and 19-year-olds.
The rate at which 18 and 19-year-olds were injured was 404 for every 10,000 workers. For 20 to 24-year-olds and 15 to 17-year-olds, their rate of injury was 287 and 281 injuries per every 10,000 injured workers, respectively. For 25 to 44-year olds, comparatively, the rate of injury was 195 per every 10,000 workers.
Among the most common causes for work related injuries amongst younger workers include on-the-job objects and equipment, as well as lacerations and punctures.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that when it comes to employees who are injured on the job, 13% of those injured are adolescents or young adults. Of those injured who were aged 15 to 17-years-old, nearly half were employed in accommodations or food service within the leisure and hospitality industry.
According to the report, contributing factors to younger workers being injured at work include the following:
- Child labor law violations
- Work pace
- Lacking skills and/or experience
- Minority status
- Poor supervision
- Failure to receive proper safety training
- Less likely to notice hazards in the workplace
- Less likely to speak up when they’re concerned about workplace safety
- Less likely to know or understand their legal protections
Before further research can be conducted, experts suggest that parents and healthcare providers should speak to teens and young adults about taking precautions in the workplace.
Workers’ compensation benefits for minors in Arizona
All 50 states have laws that require minors to receive coverage for workers’ compensation. The only difference is that most states also require minors to receive more workers’ comp protections than those paid out to adults.
There are 3 categories for these additional protections, including:
- Future earning capacity
- Illegal employment
- Special benefit provisions
1. Future earning capacity
When an injured minor is left with a permanent partial disability (PPD) or a permanent total disability (PTD), the worker’s future earning capacity is called into question. While each state differs in how they handle compensating future earning capacity, they all agree that the burden of proof typically falls to the employee to prove to what degree their disability will interfere with their capacity to earn a living in the future.
2. Illegal employment
Employers who illegally employ minors won’t receive any pity if their employee becomes injured on the job. This is true for both employers who hire minors without a work permit (in states that apply; Arizona doesn’t require minors to have a work permit) and those who work minor employees for longer hours than they’re allowed.
In many states, minor employees who are hired illegally and injured are often paid double. Arizona compensates injured minors who are illegibly employed an extra 50%.
3. Special benefit provisions
In Arizona, minors who are injured on the job must have a guardian present for the settlement of PPD and PTD claims. This provision is put in place so that minors aren’t exploited in the claims process.
If you’re a minor and you’ve been injured on the job, understand that you’re entitled to compensation just like an adult. Just like adult workers’ comp cases, those for minors can be just as complicated and can benefit from having an attorney on your side.