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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States
many may be injured, but the rate of injury may be low. By contrast, in a small but high-risk industry, the number of workers injured may be small, but the rate may be high. Limitations of data on both the number of young workers and the number of their work-related injuries pose significant challenges in calculating rates and comparing findings across studies, but injury rates reported in several state and national studies draw attention to high-risk industries, some of which are not necessarily highlighted solely by the numbers of injuries that occur in them. Layne et al. (1994) report that the retail-trade sector had not only the highest frequency of adolescent occupational injuries treated in emergency departments nationwide, but also the highest rate of such injuries. High rates of injuries have also generally been seen in the manufacturing and construction sectors (Belville et al., 1993; Brooks and Davis, 1996; Layne et al., 1994; Miller, 1995). In Washington state, 16-and 17-year-olds working in public administration had the highest rate of on-the-job injuries: Most of these youths were involved in summer job programs as trail-crew members, grounds keepers, and park maintenance workers (Miller, 1995). Banco et al. (1992) also reported high rates among young workers in public-sector jobs in Connecticut. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (1998) reported that young workers employed in the trucking/warehousing industry had the highest injury rates. The injured workers were, for the most part, teens engaged in handling materials. Small numbers but high rates were also found among Massachusetts teens employed by temporary agencies and retail bakeries (Bowling, 1996; Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 1998).
An examination of the types of injuries, events, sources of injuries, and how these vary by industry provide information that is necessary for developing specific intervention strategies. The types of injury differ by industry. For example, lacerations and burns are the leading injuries among youth employed in restaurants (Miller, 1995), while contusions, lacerations, and sprains are the leading injuries among youth employed in service industries, such as nursing homes, recreational services, and hotels. Common events include falls on the same level, overexertion from activities like lifting, striking against objects, and contact with hot objects. Examples of commonly reported sources of injuries include case cutters (Banco et al.,