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New Jersey teens with summer jobs may face injury dangers

Teenagers who work during the summer get exposure to more than just adult responsibilities. They also run the risk of adult dangers like getting hurt on the job. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that many young workers are in harm's way due to circumstances like poor supervision, subpar safety training and equipment that isn't safe.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, revealed that 24 workers under the age of 18 died from job injuries in 2015. This was just a small fraction of the 403 fatalities among all workers below the age of 24, but from 1998 to 2007, these individuals sought emergency room treatment for workplace injuries two times as much as older employees. OSHA says that hazards like lifting heavy items, getting exposed to chemicals and dealing with violent crime all tend to be risk factors for budding young professionals.

Some fields may be riskier than others. A report on Massachusetts teen injuries in 2014 found that one-third of incidents occurred at jobs in the food services and hospitality industries, while retail jobs accounted for more than one-fifth. OSHA notes that jobs in the agricultural sector are disproportionately responsible for exposing teens to hazards considering how many youth workers they employ in total.

Although young workers don't have to accept hazardous assignments, they may not know their rights. Employers might also attempt to take advantage of teens' eagerness to find work by denying them compensation after they've been injured while performing their job duties. Dealing with workplace harm can make it harder to pursue education and other opportunities. Attorneys may be able to help these victims file workers' compensation claims claims so that they can cover the costs of their treatment.

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