Younger workers play a key role in New Jersey’s economy, usually by filling low skill or entry positions. Unfortunately, employers might not be doing enough to protect this group of people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, workers between the ages of 15 and 24 are more likely to suffer workplace injuries than their older counterparts.
Using data collected by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the CDC concluded that workplace injury rate for 15 to 24-year-olds is as much as 2.3 times more than workers aged 25 to 44. From 2012 to 2018 alone, emergency rooms treated 3.2 million work injuries in the younger age group. Workers between the ages of 18 and 19 and apparently the most vulnerable, with an injury rate of 404 for every 10,000 full time workers. This is compared to only 195 injuries per 10,000 full time workers for those 25 to 44.
Experts do not think this age group is to blame for their own injuries. Instead, they point to inadequacies in the workplace that leaves young workers particularly vulnerable. Aside from hazards associated with jobs typically filled by young people, researchers also cited:
- Minority status
- Lack of skills or experience
- Lack of supervision or safety training
- Fast pace of work
Because they lack workplace experience, young workers tend to be less likely to identify hazards. Those who do notice problems may not be aware of their rights and legal protections when it comes to safety in the workplace, either. However, it is imperative that, regardless of age, injured workers understand their rights to workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey. These benefits can help those suffering from workplace injuries address their related damages, such as lost wages and medical bills.