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Young workers face serious risks in the workplace

Younger workers may be enthusiastic and eager to learn, but they also represent a serious risk in the workplace. They're more likely to suffer nonfatal injuries than older workers.

That information comes from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They carried out a decade-long study, and they found that around 7.9 million workers who were injured qualified as "younger" employees.

The injury rate was perhaps the most concerning part of the study. Those who were between 18 years old and 19 years old had the highest injury rate of any age group. Those who were under 25 years old suffered about five injuries for every 100 workers who qualified as full-time employees. The rate for those 25 and older was about half that.

Why does this happen? There are a handful of potential reasons. They include:

  • Younger workers are still developing the needed skills for the job.
  • They have far less overall experience.
  • They may have less training.
  • Young workers may feel added pressure to do their jobs as quickly as they can.
  • Young workers may be in the minority and trying to prove themselves.
  • They may not notice clear hazards and risks.
  • They may not speak up even when they see that something is wrong.

When workers of any age are injured on the job, the financial impact can be huge. They have to get medical treatment and they miss time at work. It is very important for all workers to know their potential rights to workers' compensation and what legal steps to take.

Source: Zero Excuses Protection, "The Age-Old Question: Which Workers Have the Greatest Risk for Hand Injuries?," accessed Dec. 22, 2017

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