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Protecting minors from workplace injuries

During the summer, many Oklahoma teenagers opt to get a job to earn some money while they are out of school. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, however, they are at risk for serious injuries due to a lack of inadequate safety training, unsafe equipment and lack of supervision.

In 2015, it was reported that workers under the age of 24 years old made up approximately 13 percent of the U.S. workforce. In the same year, it was reported by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health that 403 people in this age bracket died due to work-related injuries. Of those, 24 were under 18 years old. In addition, between 1998 and 2007, an average of 795,000 nonfatal injuries were reported each year. This number was estimated to be twice as high as the number of injuries reported for older workers.

There are ways that employers can reduce teen workplace injuries. These methods include ensuring that people working their first job have access to appropriate training. They should also be made aware that they can refuse to do unsafe work assignments if they are worried about their safety.

In some states, minors are prohibited from doing certain workplace tasks. If a minor worker is forced to use a prohibited item or machine for work and suffers workplace injuries as a result, the minor may be entitled to worker's compensation benefits. An attorney may often be of assistance in preparing and filing the claim as well as appearing at a hearing if it is disputed or denied.

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