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Workers' compensation claims from teens prevalent in summer

Summer is here, and many teenagers in New Hampshire and across the country cannot wait to get into their summertime jobs. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says thousands of workers under the age of 18 file workers' compensation benefits claims every year, and most injuries result from the lack of safety training. Inadequate supervision and working on unsafe equipment also cause many injuries.

Most of the reported teen injuries occur in the retail and grocery industry where slippery floors, heavy lifting, machinery and equipment were cited as causes. Next comes the food service where violent crimes, slippery floors and hot cooking equipment are said to be responsible for most injuries. Biocontamination and exposure to hazardous chemicals cause injuries among teens doing janitorial work.

Young office workers complain of ergonomic issues along with injuries resulting from repetitive hand motions. Outdoor workers such as those in the landscaping industry suffer exposure to heat and pesticides while machinery caused many injuries. OSHA says over two million young workers are injured in the agriculture industry every year. The most common safety hazards on farms include hazardous chemicals, machinery and grain bins.

While nobody wants to prevent teenagers from joining the workforce, the aim is to protect their health and safety. Most states restrict the types of jobs young workers may do, such as limitations on working at heights and with certain types of equipment. Driving on the job is also prohibited for those under the age of 18. In the unfortunate event of a workplace injury in New Hampshire, the victim may file a workers' compensation benefits claim for medical expenses and lost wages if the injury causes temporary disability.

Source: claimsjournal.com, "Summer Jobs Can Put Teens at Risk for Workplace Injuries", Denise Johnson, June 27, 2017

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