Teen workers take few precautions against hazards

By Tom Nordlie • Published: February 19th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Teenagers aren’t known for being cautious.

But you’d hope teen workers would use safety equipment to minimize jobsite hazards.

Unfortunately, you’d be wrong, according to a study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

Researchers surveyed almost nine-hundred workers ages fourteen to seventeen who were involved in retail and service industries.

The scientists asked about exposure to four types of hazards… noise, heat, chemicals and biological agents.

They also asked about safety training and use of protective gear.

The results showed that hazards were common.

Two-thirds of respondents reported exposure to continuous, very loud noise. More than half worked around high temperatures or dangerous chemicals. Only biological agents were rare, reported by eight percent.

Among workers who were exposed to hazards and trained to use protective gear, about a third opted for hand protection against chemicals, heat or biological agents.

Only eighteen percent used eye protection and less than two percent used hearing protection.

The numbers were lower for teens who weren’t trained to use safety equipment.

About one-fourth used hand protection around chemicals, and even fewer around heat and biological agents.

Eye protection was used by ten percent, hearing protection by two percent.

So if any teenagers in your life are working, talk to them about jobsite risks, and what they’re doing to protect themselves.

They need to know that jeopardizing personal safety at work is never OK.

It’s not good business. And it’s not good sense.