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June 1999, Vol. 122, No. 6

Profile of work injuries incurred by young workers

Janice Windau, Eric Sygnatur, and Guy Toscano

Over the period from 1992 to 1997, 403 youths aged 17 years and under were killed on the job. These fatal incidents occurred primarily in agriculture, retail trade, construction, and services. One-third of the deaths occurred in family businesses, and about one-half involved various types of vehicles and equipment. Work fatalities among youths, to some extent, mirrored those incurred by older workers: the incidents resulted mainly from homicides, highway crashes, tractor rollovers, falls, electrocutions, and falling objects.1

This article discusses youth employment and the associated risks. It first presents a historical summary of youth employment in the United States, then examines data on fatal work injuries among young persons, comparing their risks with those of all workers and providing a detailed look at the events, equipment, and industries associated with these workplace fatalities. Finally, the article provides an overview of the nonfatal injuries incurred by young workers during 1996.

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1 Data on fatal work injuries are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). CFOI data cover all fatal work injuries. This program, which has collected occupational fatality data nationwide since 1992, uses diverse data sources to identify, verify, and profile fatal work injuries. Information about each workplace fatality (industry and other worker characteristics, equipment involved, and circumstances of the event) is obtained by cross-referencing source documents such as death certificates, workers’ compensation records, and reports to Federal and State agencies. This method assures counts are as complete and accurate as possible.

Related BLS programs
Safety and Health Statistics

Related Monthly Labor Review articles
Improvements in the BLS safety and health statistical system.Apr. 1996.

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