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Survey shows many teens injured on the job

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - A new survey of 6,810 teens showed that more than half of them work, and 514 of them had been injured on the job.

"The findings from this study clearly indicate that work-related injuries among youth are a significant health problem," report Kristina M. Zierold, Ph.D., assistant professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and Henry A. Anderson, M.D., chief medical officer of the Wisconsin Division of Public Health.

Writing in the American Journal of Health Behavior, the authors report that 150 of the teens were injured severely enough that activities at home, work, or school were affected for more than three days, and 97 filed for workers' compensation.

The study, funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, was conducted in Wisconsin while Zierold was an epidemic intelligence service officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Developing programs and strategies to reduce injury must be made a priority," Zierold said.

But training on the job where safety could be stressed often is given by another employee. "This type of training usually consists of explaining how to do the work and how to work the equipment, without emphasis on safety issues," Zierold said. "In other instances, no training is given at all." She said there were no standards governing the safety training.

"Because so many high school students are working during the school year, we advocate introducing a safety training course within the school health curriculum," she said. Such training could be geared to the youth's developmental level and age. Zierold said, "Training would emphasize how to identify work-related hazards, how to protect themselves from hazards, and how to address their supervisors with their safety concerns. With the safety training, teens could feel empowered at the workplace by knowing their rights and how to protect themselves." <
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Contact: Robert Conn
rconn@wfubmc.edu
336-716-4587
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
21-Aug-2006


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