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Injury risks could be higher for younger workers

New Jersey workers who are younger than 24 may be more likely to suffer a workplace injury than their older counterparts. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that in 2015, there were more than 400 work-related deaths for people under that age. Between 1998 and 2007, an average of about 795,000 younger workers per year had to be treated in emergency rooms after a work-related injury. This injury rate is about two times higher than that of older workers.

The two industries that employ largest numbers of teen workers are hospitality and leisure, under which food service falls, and retail. Both industries carry a risk of slippery floors. In food service, young workers are also at risk around hot equipment and from the possibility of violent crime. In retail, machinery and heavy lifting can both be dangerous. Young employees may also be employed in jobs such as janitorial staff or in the agricultural industry where they could face exposure to chemical hazards.

A 2014 report found that in Massachusetts, male teens were more likely to be injured compared to female teens and that retail and accommodation, including restaurants, were the industries in which young people sustained the most injuries. Sprains and open wounds were the most common injuries.

When people suffer workplace injuries or become ill because of a hazard in the workplace, they are usually eligible for workers' compensation. This kind of support can be critical for a worker who is struggling with medical expenses and lost income. Workers who are told by their employers that they are ineligible or that they will face repercussions if they file for compensation might want to talk to an attorney, as employers are not permitted to retaliate against employees who make a workers' compensation claim.

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