Most workers who are injured or killed on the job are adults. However, more than you might imagine are children.
Kids under 18 are part of the workforce here in the U.S. According to the Department of Labor, some 2.5 million children were employed during the summer of 2017. Likely, that’s less than the real number. Kids working on family farms and doing work in people’s houses often aren’t counted in official statistics.
Many children, often preteens and young teens, work on farms and in other agricultural jobs. Over half of job-related fatalities and most injuries among children occur in the agricultural industry.
Most work-related deaths involving children (and adults as well) involved some type of motor vehicle. A 12-year-old boy was killed here in Tennessee last year by an all-terrain vehicle that flipped over.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), over 452 children in the U.S. died on the job from 2003 through 2016. Of those, 73 were 12 years old or even younger.
Other industries, including construction, transportation, logging, retail, leisure and hospitality employ children as well. Minors can legally be employed, but with restrictions on the type of job they do and the number of hours they can work.
Children who work on their family’s farm, however, are largely unprotected by the law. The Obama administration sought to take steps to restrict children from doing hazardous work on farms. However, critics successfully fought the efforts, claiming that such restrictions ignored the reality of farm life.
Many kids are eager to start working as soon as they can to earn some spending money, save for a car or contribute to their upcoming college expenses. For many families, a teen’s income can help the family make ends meet. Employers have an obligation to keep children out of hazardous situations. If your child was injured on the job, it’s wise to find out what legal options are available to seek justice and compensation.