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NIOSH urges young workers to remain vigilant in retail settings

Now that school is officially out for both high school and college students, millions of young people will officially be entering the workforce seeking to earn money to cover everything from car insurance and cell phone bills to clothes and, of course, tuition.

While this type of initiative is certainly to be praised, it's nevertheless important for these young people to understand that by virtue of their inexperience and lack of training, they are at an elevated risk of suffering workplace injuries.

If you don't believe it, consider the following statistics from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health:

  • There were 18.1 million workers younger than 24 years old in the U.S. in 2014, compromising 13 percent of the nation's workforce.
  • The rate of work injuries necessitating a trip to the emergency room was two times higher among younger workers than older workers in 2014.

In light of this reality and, the fact that it's currently National Safety Month, NIOSH has published a comprehensive new website specifically geared toward helping address the dangers facing young workers in the retail sector, one of their go-to employment sectors. In fact, statistics show the retail sector saw roughly 23,000 -- one in four -- young workers suffer a work-related injury in 2014.

What then are some of the hazards facing young people working for retailers who sell everything from clothes and groceries to building materials and pet supplies?

According to NIOSH, young workers must be on the lookout for the following:

  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Overexertion
  • Excessive workloads leading to physical and mental fatigue
  • Tools, equipment and supplies with the ability to inflict physical harm
  • Workplace violence
  • Driving-related dangers

It's incredibly encouraging to see that NIOSH is actively working to keep young workers apprised of workplace dangers and various protective measures. However, it's important for these young workers to understand that they have options if they are seriously injured on the job, including the ability to secure workers' compensation benefits.

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