Last summer, a 17-year old Alabama boy died at a poultry plant when he fell onto a conveyor belt that carries live chickens to be processed. Two months later, another teen died when he was pinned in a front-loader tractor on a construction site.
The two are among the 60 to 70 teens who die every year due to a workplace injury, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Every 30 seconds, a young worker gets injured on the job and about 230,000 teens get hurt every year.
So, before you encourage your teenager to learn the finer pleasures of a 9-to-5 job, make sure they're not clocking in for trouble.
The National Consumers League cautions the 4 million young workers headed into summer jobs that not all jobs are safe jobs.
Five Worst Jobs
1. Agriculture: Fieldwork and Processing
Agriculture is the most dangerous industry for young workers, accounting for 42 percent of all work-related fatalities between 1992 and 2000. Sure, a lot of the accidents happen to youths who live and work on family farms, but a number of injuries occur to hired farmworkers.
2. Construction and Work in Heights
Roofing, sheet metal work, electrical work and pouring concrete pose great threats, regardless of your age, but according to NIOSH, 15- to 17-year-olds working in construction had greater than seven times the risk for fatal injury compared to work in other industries.
3. Outside Helper: Landscaping, Groundskeeping and Lawn Service
Lawn mowing and clipping at least keep you on the ground, but electrocution is common and so are injuries using chain saws and tractors.
4. Driver/Operator: Forklifts, Tractors
Tractor overturns were the primary cause of tractor-related fatalities among youth workers. Minors may operate tractors at age 14 if they have completed an approved tractor or machinery certification program.
5. Traveling Youth Crews
Door-to-door sales pose a number of risks. Not only does the job require driving around, supervision can be spotty and teens may be more vulnerable to assaults and abductions by customers and strangers. Another downside to the job is promises of tips or outings as a replacement to a paycheck.