Recommendation: Interagency cross-training of inspectors should be developed and collaborative multiagency inspections should be increased to ensure that employers comply with all applicable child labor and occupational health and safety standards.
There has been no systematic study of the adequacy and effectiveness of the workers' compensation system in dealing with the work-related injuries and illnesses sustained by young people. The committee's review indicates that young workers may be less likely than others to make use of the workers' compensation system, but the reasons for this remain speculative. Minors working in agriculture continue to be totally excluded from workers' compensation in most states. The model of indemnification for adult workers—lost wages and medical expenses—does not adequately compensate young workers for their unique losses, such as lost school time (which could have adverse effects on their educational attainment).
Recommendation: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, with the assistance of representatives from state workers' compensation programs, should study and report on the adequacy of current workers' compensation coverage, utilization, and indemnification for young workers. The study should consider examples of effective activities by states and other options for reforming the system to protect and compensate young people for the full range of loss, specifically including the adverse educational consequences of workplace injuries and illnesses.
Work permits, like other child labor regulations, vary widely among the states in content and requirements. FLSA regulations encourage, but do not require, work permits for minors. These systems offer opportunities to identify young workers in need of training, as well as opportunities for collecting data about young