sion that youth deserve special protection in the workplace. Although the limitations of the data regarding both the number of young workers injured (numerator for injury rate calculations) and the total number of young workers (denominator for injury rate calculations) make it difficult to calculate injury rates for young workers, studies in which injury rates have been computed for both youngsters and adults using the same methods suggest that the injury rate per hours worked for young workers is higher than that for adults (Coleman and Sanderson, 1983; Miller, 1995). Current injury rates also appear to be well above the target for adolescents. The National Center for Health Statistics (1997) reports an occupational injury rate for 15-to 17-year-olds of 4.9 per 100 full-time-equivalent workers in 1996. The injury rate for all workers 16-years-old and older in 1996, based on the same sample, was 2.8 per 100 full-time-equivalent workers (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1998).
The injury rates alone do not provide a sense of the consequences of occupational injuries for the injured adolescents or for the adolescent population in general. Adolescents who are injured seriously enough to miss work may also miss days of school. In an effort to examine the burden that adolescent work-related injuries place on the community at large, Brooks et al. (1993) computed the rate of occupational injuries among teens residing in the community, regardless of their work status. Using emergency-department data collected from 14 Massachusetts communities and towns from 1979 to 1982, they report that approximately 1 out of every 30 adolescents aged 16 to 17 was seen in emergency departments for a work-related injury each year. Among males, the figure was I in 20.
Studies show remarkably consistent patterns of nonfatal occupational injuries by age. In general, studies at both the national and state levels find older adolescents to have more injuries than younger adolescents (Banco et al., 1992; Belville et al., 1993; Brooks and Davis, 1996; Brooks et al., 1993; Castillo et al., 1994; Cooper and Rothstein, 1995; Heyer et al., 1992; Layne et al., 1994; Miller, 1995; Schober et al., 1988; Suruda and Halperin, 1991; Toscano and Windau, 1995); older adolescents also have higher injury rates (Belville et al., 1993; Brooks et al., 1993; Layne et al., 1994). Over-