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Workplace Pressures, Hazards Raise Risk of Job Injuries in Youths

Exposure to work hazards and a frenetic job pace increases the likelihood of injury among adolescent and young adult workers, a new systematic review suggests.//

Work setting also appears to play a role in predicting the risk of injury, with food service and construction industry jobs topping the list of hazardous employment in this age group.

“These studies provide sufficient evidence that the type of work setting, in particular restaurant work and manual labor jobs, was independently associated with work injury,” said lead author F. Curtis Breslin, Ph.D., a scientist at the Institute for Work & Health in Toronto.

Breslin and his colleagues analyzed nine studies published between 1997 and 2005 that examined nonfatal injuries among 12- to 24-year-old workers.

The review focused only on youth performing paid nonagricultural jobs, such as those in the retail, food service or construction industries. The review also included self-employed teens, such as those performing babysitting or yard work.

Through telephone and written questionnaires, the workers reported characteristics of their employment and the type and severity of any on-the-job injuries they experienced.

Six studies took place in the United States and three were conducted in Canada and Australia.

Previous research had indicated that young male workers sustain injuries at about twice the rate of female workers. However, although six review studies compared injuries between the sexes, only one found that young males had a higher risk for injury, after taking into account work setting, on-the-job hazards and work hours.

“We found that when males and females are working similar jobs, they have a similar risk for work injury,” Breslin said. “Even though you have males having higher injury rates, it seems to be attributable to them being in more dangerous jobs like construction,” he said, not to factors specifically as
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