and may be undercounted in the CFOI system. This undercounting may be particularly true of young workers on family farms and in family businesses, where the boundaries between work and family life are blurred. Information about whether safety or child labor laws were being violated during the fatal incidents is not systematically recorded.

Another problem in using data from CFOI to assess the fatal injuries among young workers is that the rates presented by BLS in its standard reports are misleading. These rates are routinely computed using estimates of the number of employed persons in the denominator (e.g., deaths per 100,000 workers). For populations of workers who are employed part-time or temporarily, such as teens, calculating the rate using the number of workers overestimates the true period of exposure to job risks. In computing rates, the use of employment figures rather than numbers of full-time-equivalent workers results in underestimates of the risk-per-hour-worked for part-time workers. Exposure would be more closely approximated by hours of work. Ruser (1998) reports that the fatality rate for 15-to 19-year-olds is 4.0 per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers, compared with a rate of 2.5 per 100,000 employed persons. (The rates for workers aged 20 to 64, who are more likely than youngsters to work full-time, remain substantially the same regardless of the denominator.)

National Traumatic Occupational Fatality Surveillance System

The National Traumatic Occupational Fatality Surveillance System (NTOF) is a census of all U.S. death certificates that have an external cause of death noted (i.e., are E-coded) and for which the certifier checked ''injured at work" on the death certificate. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health collects and automates death certificates from the 52 vital statistics reporting units (the 50 states, New York City, and Washington, D.C.) for workers 16 years of age and older. This system includes information on the victim's industry, occupation, cause of death, and a description of the injury, taken from the death certificate.

Between 1980 and 1989, NTOF listed 673 deaths of 16-and 17-year-olds (Castillo et al., 1994). The leading causes of death were incidents involving motor vehicles (24 percent), machines (17 percent), electrocution (12 percent), and homicide (10 percent). The

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement