Objective—To describe injuries of teens employed in the residential construction industry and to assess whether their injury experiences are significantly different from those of adults in this high risk industry.
Methods and setting—North Carolina homebuilders workers' compensation data for a 41 month period were analyzed. Injuries of teens were identified and described by body part injured, nature, and cause of injury. Proportionate injury ratios were used to summarize and compare the injury experience of teens with those of adult construction workers.
Results—Teens had proportionately more injuries to the eye and foot and fewer injuries to the back than adults. They had more cuts and scratches and fewer sprains and strains. They also had proportionately fewer injuries from falls from elevations and overexertion, injuries that account for a significant cost burden in construction. Consistent with these findings, teens had significantly fewer injuries resulting in medical costs or lost time costs of $1000 or more.
Conclusions—The analyses indicate that injuries of teens are less serious than those of adults. This finding may indicate that their work exposures are less dangerous than those of adults in comparable broad categories of construction. However, the data also provide documentation of injuries to teens resulting from work at heights, use of power tools, and motor vehicles with the majority of more expensive claims involving one of these exposures. Construction is dangerous work and these results add to the documentation of the need for additional measures to prevent work related injuries among all workers—teens and adults—in this industry.
- occupational injury
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