Stewart, 1979; Weeks, 1991). The level of MSHA enforcement in underground mining is far higher than the level of OSHA enforcement in other industries. Each mine is inspected four times annually, and there were 2,735 inspectors for approximately 100,000 miners in 1989, compared with 2,404 OSHA inspectors for 85,000,000 workers in other industries.

OSHA's targeted inspection programs have proved effective at reducing workers' compensation claims for work injuries. For example, a targeted inspection program in Washington state's construction industry in 1991–1992, focused on enforcing a protection standard to prevent falls, resulted in a decrease of claims for injuries due to falls from 1.78 to 1.39 per 100 full-time employees in the group of targeted contractors, which was significantly different from any change in the claims rate among other construction contractors (Nelson et al., 1997). In general, better surveillance of occupational injuries and illnesses is necessary for OSHA to effectively and efficiently target inspections.

Enforcement of child labor laws under FLSA appears to suffer from too few inspectors to visit work sites, but there have not been any evaluations of the effectiveness of the FLSA rules with respect to how well they protect working youth.

TRAINING AND OTHER EFFORTS TO EDUCATE YOUNG WORKERS

Government enforcement of child labor laws and regulations is important, but it is insufficient to ensure that the work performed by children and adolescents is safe and nonexploitative. Indeed, the primary function of laws and regulations may be to define correct practices rather than to force compliance. Therefore, education is a necessary complement to enforcement. Education about the employment of children and adolescents has several purposes. Informing young people, parents, educators, employers, and others about child labor laws and regulations is one purpose. Training them to prevent work-related illness and injury and to respond appropriately to workplace hazards is another. Education can also contribute to improving the quality of youngsters' work experiences, minimizing the harmful consequences and maximizing the benefits.

A number of efforts now under way around the country are trying to make youngster's work experiences safe and healthful. 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