Teenagers who work summer jobs face a variety of injury risks from lack of experience, climate conditions, falls, burns, and overexertion.
Summer Job Risks for Teens
Summer jobs offer teenagers opportunities to take on responsibilities, learn new skills, and earn money. However, they create increased injury risks for teens who have little or no job experience. Due to lack of job experience and knowledge, teens are especially vulnerable to summer job accidents and injuries. Since summer work is temporary, many teens don’t receive adequate safety training to protect them from work-related injuries.
Summer jobs for teens include camp counselors, lifeguards, yard workers, warehouse workers, baby sitters, and restaurant workers. Many of these jobs put teens at increased risks for injuries from outdoor temperatures, cuts and abrasions, slip-and-falls, burns, and overexertion.
Teens who take outdoor summer jobs often suffer from heat exhaustion, dehydration, and sunburn from working in the hot sun all day. These conditions can put a person in the hospital emergency room with headaches, confusion, cramps, fatigue, and rapid heart rate. Teens who work outdoors should be protected from outdoor temperatures by:
- Wearing lightweight, light-colored clothing (if a uniform is not required)
- Wearing a hat for sun protection
- Wearing a 30+ SPF sunscreen
- Staying well- hydrated
- Avoiding caffeine drinks
Burns, Lacerations and Falls
Summer restaurant jobs and yard jobs pose risks for serious burns, lacerations, and falls. Teens working in restaurants often sustain burns while cooking or handling food, painful cuts from broken glass, and falls from wet floors. Teens doing yard work often sustain chemical burns and cuts and lacerations from sharp blades. Teens should be advised of serious injury risks from operating equipment such as lawnmowers, weedeaters, and hedge trimmers with blades and moving parts.
Teenagers who opt for warehouse jobs or grocery store jobs often experience muscle pain and/or injuries from heavy lifting, stocking shelves, or loading and unloading of boxes from delivery trucks. Muscle strains, neck and back injuries, and sprained ankles are common in these types of summer jobs. Teens should be aware of overexertion injuries, how to prevent them, and how to treat them if they occur.
While summer jobs are temporary or often part-time, injuries are generally covered by workers compensation insurance. For parents and teens who have concerns often talk to a workers compensation attorney who can explain employee rights for summer workers.