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Workplace accidents involving children often not investigated

Most residents of North Carolina probably do not spend a lot of time thinking about the jobs that are held by young people in the state. Nonetheless, a fair amount of workers to whom child labor laws apply, are employed in the state. Recently, a study into the number of deaths involving these young workers in the state of North Carolina was conducted by researchers at a university in a neighboring state.

The study was conducted through the use of medical examiner records that were created in the 18 year span between 1990 and 2008. Researchers specifically looked at the records that involved deceased workers who were between the ages of 11 and 17 when they died while engaged in a work related activity. Violations of child labor laws were looked for and it was determined that more than 50 percent of the deaths investigated were due to those laws being violated. It is not clear what types of jobs they were engaged in when the fatal incidents occurred.

Despite these high numbers, very little information regarding these incidents is known to the public. Even many who are aware that such rules exist have no idea what they actually are let alone how to enforce them. Their plight is made even more difficult since agencies responsible for the enforcement of OSHA and child labor matters are often not involved in investigations into the incidents. This is problematic as it is difficult for safety improvements to be made if what needs to be improved upon is not clear.

Everyone who goes to work should be provided the safest work environment possible, regardless of one's age. This is especially true in the case of adolescents who are usually not equipped to handle problems that could arise as well as adult workers might. Most would agree that employers need to take the necessary steps to keep all workers safe.

Source: Medical Xpress, "Study finds adolescents working in dangerous environments despite child labor laws," March 19, 2013

  • Our firm handles similar situations to the one discussed in this post. For more information on these types of claims, please visit our North Carolina injured workers page.

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