Young Worker Safety

Young Worker Safety

Definition: Approximately 2.3 million adolescents aged 16 to 17 years worked in the U.S. in 2007. Young workers have unique and substantial risks for work-related injuries and illnesses dues to their biologic, social, and economic characteristics.

Magnitude of the Problem

According to NIOSH,

  • In 2009, 359 workers under the age of 24 and 27 workers under the age of 18 died of work-related injuries.
  • There was an average of 795,000 nonfatal injuries to young workers each year between 1998 and 2007.
  • Common injuries are cuts, contusions, sprains, burns, and fractures.

Young workers who are low income, immigrant, urban, or have developmental and learning disabilities may incur injury and death at higher rates in the workplace.


Adequately trained young workers are less likely to be injured on the job. New young workers need a basic understanding of workplace hazards, how to work safely and what to do if their work is unsafe. Outreach to vulnerable populations should be a priority as they are most at risk.