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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States
injuries and illnesses; only 4 percent of the reported injuries and illnesses were to youngsters under the age of 16. Males were somewhat more likely than females to be injured, accounting for 59 percent of reported injuries and illnesses.
Although the revised survey is an important source of information about young people's work-related injuries, it has a number of limitations. For several reasons, the survey's estimates may under-count incidents involving working children and adolescents. Because of the industries that are excluded from the survey, it has been estimated to miss at least 11 percent of working children and adolescents under the age of 18 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1996). Because most young people work only part-time, injuries or illnesses that might have prevented them from working on days they were not scheduled to work would not be counted, even though those injuries might have resulted in their missing school. For both children and adults, the survey is believed to undercount illnesses, especially long-latency illnesses, such as those caused by exposure to carcinogens (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1997a).
Another limitation in using data from the SOII to assess the injuries suffered by working children and adolescents is that injury rates based on the survey's data are routinely computed using the information on hours of employment that is provided by the employers participating in the survey. This information is not broken down by age groups, which means that injury rates by age are not available. Also, data on the number of injuries suffered by young workers are aggregated with the data for adult workers in standard SOII reports, which makes them an inadequate source of information about the health and safety of working children and adolescents.
National Electronic Injury Surveillance System
The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), maintained by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), collects information on product-related injuries from a national probability sample of 91 hospital emergency departments. The NEISS covers not only injuries sustained by individuals who are engaging in paid work, but also injuries suffered by those performing volunteer work for organized groups. Beginning in July 1992, NIOSH collaborated with CPSC to have this system collect information on work-related injuries to youngsters aged 14 through 17.