actions are taken. Surveillance that provides information about where and how youngsters are injured or made ill while working is essential for both targeting and evaluating prevention efforts. Over the past decade, government agencies have substantially improved the surveillance of illnesses and injuries sustained by adult workers; more recent surveillance initiatives have begun to provide information regarding young workers, at least with respect to their work-related injuries. However, these activities are limited and poorly coordinated. The lack of specific attention to the need for data regarding issues related to the protection of young workers as a special population has often meant that even data on relevant age groups are not available to the public.
Recommendation: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in collaboration with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other relevant federal and state agencies, should develop and implement a comprehensive plan for monitoring work-related injuries and illnesses sustained by workers under the age of 18 and for monitoring hazards to which these young workers are exposed. Additional resources should be allocated to the appropriate agencies to implement plan components not currently funded.
The health and safety hazards that children and adolescents face in the workplace and the protections to which they are entitled under the law are little known or understood by children and adolescents themselves, by their parents, and by other adults who are in a position to give them guidance. Although a number of efforts are currently under way around the country to provide information and training related to making workplaces safe and healthy environments for young people, they are scattered and uncoordinated. The committee proposes several plans to begin to remedy the lack of knowledge and to promote understanding of the conditions necessary for safe and meaningful work experiences for children and adolescents.