School is over and the summer job search has begun for many Rhode Island teens. Parents are thrilled if their teen secures summertime employment to keep them busy, teach them responsibility, and earn some spending money. Before they begin though, it’s important they receive proper training in order to maintain a safe environment and avoid workplace injuries. Workplace injuries can have repercussions that can be life-altering to both the victim and their families, as the personal injury attorneys at Tapalian Law see firsthand. Proper on the job training for teens is crucial. Teenagers can be eager to begin working and may not understand aspects of the workplace that are unsafe, or how to remedy a dangerous work situation.
Young Workers Have a Higher Rate of Injury than Older Workers
Teens need adequate training and extra supervision particularly when they are new to a position. They must be instructed on how to wear safety gear and operate equipment if necessary for their position. Otherwise their lack of experience and maturity, combined with insufficient job training, can result in a workplace injury. The most common injuries for working teens are cuts, sprains, strains, and falls. Male teens are hurt more often on the job than female teenagers. The majority of teen workplace injuries happen to 17-year-old’s, followed by 16-year-old’s. The most popular industries for young workers are the accommodation and food service, or restaurant, industries, followed by retail positions.
OSHA Work Hazards for Teens
Injuries can occur in any type of work place. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists some of the more common hazards young workers may face in specific jobs:
Retail & Grocery: heavy lifting, slippery floors, equipment & machinery
Food Service: hot cooking equipment, slippery floors, violent crime
Janitorial: hazardous chemical exposure, heavy lifting, bio-contamination
Office Work: repetitive hand motion, ergonomic issues
Outdoor Work: heat exposure, pesticides, machinery
Agriculture: hazardous chemicals, machinery hazards
Child Labor Laws in Rhode Island & Massachusetts
To help keep teens safe at work, individual states including Rhode Island have laws in place to give a strict guideline of what types of positions, hours, and workload are suitable for a teenager. Rhode Island Child Labor Laws and Massachusetts Child Labor Laws are almost the same with minor exceptions.
- In RI, children under age 14 may not work
- In RI, ages 14-15 may not work:
- During school hours
- Before 6am or after 6pm
- More than 8 hours per day
- More than 40 hours per week
- In RI, ages 16-17 may not work:
- More than 48 hours per week
- More than 9 hours a day
- Before 6am or after 11:30am
- Without an 8-hour respite between the end of a shift and the start of a new shift the next day
Some exceptions or changes apply to these rules, such as during school or summer vacations or for minors involved in approved Work Experience Programs.
What to Do If Your Teen Has Suffered a Workplace Injury
Training and supervision are key to preventing and decreasing the risk of teen workplace injury. It is great for teens to have a job, but employers must fully train them, including tasks that may seem simple or straight forward such as mopping a floor, or washing dishes. As a parent, ensure your child is receiving proper instruction from the employer and is provided the necessary materials to successfully perform his or her job, including safety equipment. If your child has been hurt during their summer job or after school or weekend job in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, report the injury immediately to the employer and seek medical treatment. Just as with any type of personal injury, document how and when the incident occurred, including pictures, and get witness statements. Keep all paperwork pertaining to the incident including doctors’ visits, hospital bills, and out of pocket expenses incurred due to the injury. Speak with an experienced Rhode Island personal injury lawyer at Tapalian Law to discuss the circumstances of your teen’s injury. Injury attorney David Tapalian will advise you of what steps to take next in your personal injury case. He will provide a free case review at his Providence, Rhode Island, or Seekonk, Massachusetts office, or at another location convenient for you. Contact Tapalian Law today at 401-552-5000. Or complete our easy, online form and we will contact you to discuss your Rhode Island personal injury case.