June 7, 2012
Washington, DC –With the school year winding down, many teenagers are in search of that increasingly hard-to-find summer job. The nation’s oldest consumer organization is warning teens and their parents to exercise caution in choosing summer jobs: every day in the United States about 400 teens are hurt on the job; every eleven days, a teen is killed at work.
In the Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens 2012, a new report on teen worker safety released by the National Consumers League (NCL), the consumer group is reminding teen jobseekers that some jobs are more dangerous than others and providing practical advice for teens and their parents on how to stay safe on the job.
“Our tough job market may lead young people who need jobs to take ones that are unsafe,” said Reid Maki, NCL’s Director for Social Responsibility and Fair Labor Standards. Since 2000, the percentage of working teens has fallen 40 percent—in part because the federal government has cut back on funding for youth programs and in part because of the global economic recession. The weakening of child labor laws in some states, and the withdrawal of proposed federal safety protections for children who work in agriculture, also mean that children may not be as safe in the coming year.
“Teens just entering the job market may not think that their job could kill them, but for 34 children and teenagers last year, it did.” said Maki. “Two 14-year-old girls detasseling corn last year in Illinois were electrocuted by irrigation equipment in a saturated field. A six-year-old died as he helped at his father’s landscaping business, feeding a branch into a woodchipper and instantly pulled in to his death,” said Maki. Thousands of teen workers are also injured. Two 17-year-olds in Oklahoma became trapped in grain augur last summer, losing a leg each—an example of the traumatic injuries that can occur.
NCL’s Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens in 2012: (full report here)
- Agriculture: Harvesting Crops and Using Machinery
- Construction and Height Work
- Traveling Youth Sales Crews
- Outside Helper: Landscaping, Groundskeeping, and Lawn Service
- Driver/Operator: Forklifts, Tractors, and ATV’s
One survey cited in the report found that more 10 percent of teenagers had been physically assaulted on the job and another 10 percent said they had been sexually harassed. The report also details dangers associated with work-related driving, meatpacking, and jobs in restaurants and retail stores.
“The National Consumers League issues our Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens report to remind teens and their parents to choose summer jobs wisely,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of NCL. “We want teens to have a safe and productive work experience. The report provides valuable tips and suggestions to ensure that parents can help children protect themselves on the job and help teens be proactive about their own safety.”
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.