Summer jobs are a great way for a student to learn responsibility and help pay off his or her own college debt.
They are also a good way to get hurt. And the parents of children working these summer jobs need to be aware of the hazards, warns Reid Maki, director of child advocacy for the National Consumers League.
While convenience store robbers are often viewed as the largest threat to young employees, Maki said landscape and farm equipment pose bigger and more common hazards.
Any machinery that spins and has a blade is potentially doubly dangerous, he noted.
Trebly so when you add in teen inexperience.
“The first days at work are the most dangerous for teens at a landscaping, construction, farm or factory summer job,” says Maki. “Kids are not thinking about safety.”
He has heard of some very young kids dying in wood chipper accidents.
Because of their lack of experience, it is probably not surprising that workers under 25 are twice as likely to end up in emergency rooms as laborers over that age. Every nine minutes a teen is injured on a job.
To help youngsters complete their summer job unscathed, Maki says parents must have safety conversations before the work starts.
“Kids need to be told bad things do happen at work and they need to be empowered to say no to bosses—that the tasks they are being asked to do are too dangerous,” he says.