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Summer Danger?

June 26, 2012
Emmetsburg News

Our area youth have enjoyed a month of vacation from school, and even though last Wednesday was the official start of Summer, many young people have been working since they got out of school at Summer jobs. In our rural area, the standard Summer job has changed from walking beans and baling hay and straw in my youth to pursuits such as daycare, lifeguarding and construction work.

I received this release the other day pointing out that Summer jobs, or any job for that matter, have inherent dangers. The National Consumer League has released a list of five most dangerous jobs for teens in 2012, noting that every day in the United States about 400 teens are hurt on the job and every eleven days, a teen is killed at work.

"Our tough job market may lead young people who need jobs to take ones that are unsafe," said Reid Maki, NCL's Director for Social Responsibility and Fair Labor Standards. Since 2000, the percentage of working teens has fallen 40 percent-in part because the federal government has cut back on funding for youth programs and in part because of the global economic recession. The weakening of child labor laws in some states, and the withdrawal of proposed federal safety protections for children who work in agriculture, also mean that children may not be as safe in the coming year.

"Teens just entering the job market may not think that their job could kill them, but for 34 children and teenagers last year, it did." said Maki. "Two 14-year-old girls detasseling corn last year in Illinois were electrocuted by irrigation equipment in a saturated field. Thousands of teen workers are also injured. Two 17-year-olds in Oklahoma became trapped in grain augur last summer, losing a leg each-an example of the traumatic injuries that can occur.

NCL's Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens in 2012:

- Agriculture: Harvesting Crops and Using Machinery

- Construction and Height Work

- Traveling Youth Sales Crews

- Outside Helper: Landscaping, Groundskeeping, and Lawn Service

- Driver/Operator: Forklifts, Tractors, and ATV's

A survey cited in the report found that more 10 percent of teenagers had been physically assaulted on the job and another 10 percent said they had been sexually harassed. The report also details dangers associated with work-related driving, meatpacking, and jobs in restaurants and retail stores.

"The National Consumers League issues our Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens report to remind teens and their parents to choose summer jobs wisely," said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of NCL. "We want teens to have a safe and productive work experience. The report provides valuable tips and suggestions to ensure that parents can help children protect themselves on the job and help teens be proactive about their own safety."

Maybe the best way to summarlize this is simply that no job is worth your life be smart and be safe.



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