Young Workers: Injury Surveillance and Prevention Project

According to official employment statistics, more than one third of 16 and 17 year olds in Massachusetts - over 50,000 teens - are employed, on average, at any given time. Thousands of younger teens in Massachusetts also work. Although work can provide many important benefits for teens and young adults, it can also pose health and safety risks. Each year in the U.S. hundreds of thousands of working teens are injured, thousands are hospitalized, and approximately 70 are killed. Since 1993, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Young Workers: Injury Surveillance and Intervention Project (TAW) has tracked work-related injuries to teens less than 18 years of age in Massachusetts using workers' compensation claims and data from a sample of nine emergency departments. More recently, the project has also tracked work-related injuries to young adults less than 25.  Between 1993 and 2003, TAW identified more than 5,500 work-related injuries to teens. Ten teens were fatally injured at work during this period. Findings have been used to promote a variety of prevention activities including the development and dissemination of educational materials on health and safety and the child labor laws for teens, parents, employers, and health care providers; health and safety training for teens; and industry steps to reduce hazards.

 


This information is provided by the Occupational Health Surveillance Program within the Department of Public Health.