When the economy plummeted, many young people were forced to join the workforce, either as an alternative to studying or accompanying their studies as a way to pay for their schooling. Even though the economy is improving right now, many young people still make up a significant part of the workforce. In fact, there were around 18.1 million workers in the workforce younger than 24 years of age in 2013. This translates to 13 percent of the workforce.
Due to their inexperience and the psychosocial and biological factors associated with their age, younger workers are more likely to get hurt on the job. North Carolina workers may not be aware that 375 workers aged 24 or less passed away from injuries sustained at work in 2012. In addition, during the ten-year period between 1998 and 2007, 795,000 young workers suffered nonfatal injuries on the job on average each year.
Though inexperience is cited as one of the factors younger workers are more likely to get injured on the job and it is true that they lack the strength and cognitive abilities of their elder counterparts, a lack of training is also one of the reasons they may be prone to more injury. Industry specific training, such as dealing with long and sharp knives in restaurants or farm equipment, may be more useful to younger workers than it is to older ones.
Young workers start working to earn money for a variety of reasons, so if they get hurt on the job and face a number of hospital bills, not only does it defeat the purpose for which they started the job but also increases their expenses overall. However, workers’ compensation is one way they may be able to have their medical bills covered and focus on getting back on their feet again.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Young Worker Safety And Health,” accessed Feb. 9, 2015