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Young Workers at Higher Risk of On-the-Job Injury

Student workers are nearly twice as likely as adults to be injured on the job, bad news for the more than 4 million students who entered the workforce as seasonal workers this summer.

Just 54 percent of businesses surveyed by Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America, a workers’ comp insurer based in Lansing, Mich., planned to provide any safety training for their student workers. Yet, these same businesses say that workplace safety is a high priority. The survey included more than 600 small- to mid-sized businesses in Michigan.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), some 70 teenagers die each year from work-related injuries and nearly 70,000 are injured severely enough to be taken to the emergency room. In an effort to decrease these injuries, Accident Fund developed “WorkSafe Students,” a free student workplace program for use in high schools and businesses. The interactive 45-minute program is designed to help students and employers understand child labor laws and potential workplace dangers. The program includes a teaching guide, student booklet and short video, “Lost Youth: Four Stories of Injured Young Workers.”

“We want to reinforce to this age group that accidents can and do happen,” said Keith Adkins, vice president of marketing at Accident Fund. “We also want business owners to make sure they are taking the right steps toward student safety. Workplace safety is our passion, and this program empowers students to know their rights and make safe decisions on the job.”

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