Texas Mutual Launches Safety Program for Teen Workers

With the goal of reducing the number of workplace injuries among teen workers, Texas Mutual Insurance Co. and its partners have kicked off the One Wrong Move campaign in Lubbock, Tex.

Through brochures, billboards, radio commercials, mall advertising and the OneWrongMove.org Web site, the campaign will inform teens, parents and employers in the Lubbock area about workplace hazards and how to prevent them. The message of the campaign is “Workplace Accidents Are a Pain. Work Smart.”

“With this campaign, Texas Mutual and its partners aim to educate people in the Lubbock area about how to avoid workplace accidents among 16- to 19-year-olds,” Russell R. Oliver, president of Texas Mutual, said. “One wrong move in the workplace – a restaurant or a retail store, for instance – certainly can result in life-changing injuries for a teen worker.”

The One Wrong Move campaign is being tested in the Lubbock area. Representatives of Texas Mutual, the Lubbock City Council, the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce and the Lubbock Independent School District launched the campaign at Brady’s Dairy Queen at 7813 Slide Road. Brady’s Dairy Queen is a Texas Mutual policyholder.

Aside from Brady’s Dairy Queen and the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, employers participating in the One Wrong Move campaign include Caprock Business Forms; Chicken Express; Children’s Home of Lubbock; Crenshaw, Dupree & Milam, LLP; Fastbreak/Balco Electric; Greer Electric; Lubbock YWCA; Schlotzsky’s; South Plains Mall; and South Plains Service Electric.

A cornerstone of the One Wrong Move campaign is an online workplace safety quiz. Teens in the Lubbock area are invited to visit the campaign’s Web site at http://www.OneWrongMove.org to take the quiz; after successfully completing the quiz, each participant will receive a free ticket to a movie at Cinemark Theatres.

Data from Texas Mutual policyholders shows the most common injuries among employees under age 21 are strains and injuries from lifting, and cuts, punctures and scrapes. Among those policyholders, businesses in the leisure and hospitality industry account for the bulk of work-related injuries among employees 16 to 19.

About 80 percent of U.S. teens work during their high school years, many of them during the summer, according to the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). In 2007, the United States had about 6 million workers ages 16 to 19, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nationally, about 230,000 teens suffer work-related injuries each year, with 77,000 of them requiring treatment at emergency rooms, according to ASSE.

The National Pediatric Trauma Registry and the National Center for Health Statistics report that occupational injuries are the fourth-leading cause of death among Americans age 10 to 19. In Texas, there were 14 workplace deaths among 18- and 19-year-olds in 2007 but no workplace deaths among 16- and 17-year-olds, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Young workers are exposed to many of the same on-the-job risks as their adult counterparts, but are more likely to be injured at work than adults. A nationwide survey released in 2007 by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill indicates about one-third of teen workers have not undergone workplace safety training.

A study financed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that the most common jobs for teens are in restaurants, babysitting, lawn care, family-owned businesses, family-run farms, grocery stores and department stores.

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