Young workers more susceptible to injury while on the job

As the summer months are now in full swing, and the temperatures are rising in New York and across the country, many high school and college students are in the midst of their summer jobs. As many of these workers will only remain employed during the summer months, it is not uncommon for them to lack an understanding about their rights while on the job.

Consequently, statistics show that young workers are some of the most at risk of injury or illness in the workplace. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, young workers - specifically those under 25 years of age -are two times more likely to sustain an injury while at work than their older counterparts.

In 2011, there were over 331 fatalities among young workers in the United States. In addition, over 106,000 younger workers sustained personal injuries while on the job that year.

Consequently, it is critical for these young workers to become aware of their rights and to ensure that they are properly protected while in the workplace.

Young workers: Avoid heat illness while on the job

One of the most dangerous factors for young workers during the summer months is exposure to heat. Many popular summer jobs - such as lifeguards, landscapers and construction workers - require long hours sitting and working in the sun. When temperatures rise, these workers can be susceptible to suffering from a heat-related illness, especially if they do not take proper precautions.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, workers whose job duties require them to be exposed to the elements should focus on three main factors:

  • Water.
  • Rest.
  • Shade.

Throughout the day, workers should ensure they are drinking a sufficient amount of water to avoid dehydration and take breaks in the shade when necessary. In addition, particularly for workers who must exert energy to perform their duties, workers should take breaks during the day to allow their body to cool off.

Employers should ensure that their workers are provided with a safe environment to perform their duties. In addition, workers should be allowed to take breaks and rehydrate when necessary to prevent illness. When employers fail to meet these expectations, workers can suffer a variety of heat-related illnesses - from less severe issues like heat rash to more severe illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

If you have sustained a heat-related illness while on the job, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. In such situations, it is prudent to seek the advice of a skilled workers' compensation attorney to ensure your rights are protected.