Many South Carolina teens decide to get a job over the summer as a way to stay busy and earn some fun money while school is out. However, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has reported that younger workers are particularly at risk for suffering workplace injuries.
In 2015, 403 workers who were under the age of 24 died due to workplace injuries. Of these, 24 were under the age of 18. NIOSH also reported that, between 1998 and 2007, an average of 795,000 injuries were suffered by young workers every year. Other research has shown that younger workers have a higher injury rate than older workers.
Part of the problem is that younger workers often are not as experienced as older workers. They may be more at risk for injuries resulting from hazardous chemicals or dangerous machinery, especially if they receive inadequate training or are not properly supervised. Employers can assist with decreasing the number of teen work-related injuries by ensuring that they receive proper training and that they are prohibited from using dangerous machinery or hazardous chemicals before they are legally allowed to. Further, teens should be encouraged to refuse unsafe work tasks.
If an underage worker does become injured while working, he or she is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to cover the cost of medical expenses. If the injury causes the worker to be unable to work for a certain period of time, the benefits may also cover a percentage of lost wages. However, an attorney could seek to increase the damages the worker can potentially recover if there are special circumstances surrounding the incident that caused the workplace injury, such as if the accident resulted from a defective piece of machinery.