Jun 2014

Teen Landscapers Face Summer Accident Risks in Massachusetts

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorneyLandscaping is one of the industries where teenagers are most likely to get summer jobs. Unfortunately, landscaping work can be dangerous for young people, especially if they are inexperienced and do not know how to do the work safely.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is trying to prevent injuries and accidents on-the-job and has launched a multi-year Teen Summer Job Safety Campaign. The goal is to prevent student accidents that happen when young people get summer jobs in landscaping, the restaurant industry, and other fields. If a teen does get hurt at work, a lawyer from the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help the young person and his family member to understand their options for making a workers’ comp claim or for filing an injury lawsuit against a non-employer.

Keeping Kids in Landscaping Safe

Preventing injuries before they happen is always best, and OSHA has advice for employers in landscaping.

First and foremost, labor laws need to be followed. Workers who are 14- and 15-years-of-age are restricted from doing many tasks common in the landscape industry. These young teens are not allowed to operate lawn mowers or trimmers, nor are they allowed to use weed cutters.

Older teens who are not yet 18 are allowed to do more, but still cannot operate power-driven hoisting equipment, circular saws, band saws or guillotine shears. Forbidden power-driven hoisting equipment includes forklifts. Teens under 18 are also not allowed to drive a motor vehicle on the job, nor can they be an outside helper on a motor vehicle.

Employers have the ultimate responsibility for providing training, setting workplace policies and otherwise taking steps to protect teen workers. However, young people who get jobs in landscaping also need to take steps to protect their own safety. OSHA advises teens to:

  • Avoid using equipment until they are trained to use it properly and safely.
  • Use earmuffs or ear plugs in any work area where there is a high level of noise.
  • Use safety goggles or glasses when doing any work where flying particles could be created.
  • Wear appropriate clothing, including shoes that are right for the job.
  • Wear any necessary protective gear that is available or that will protect you from injury.
  • Avoid riding in the cargo section of pickup trucks.
  • Never reach into or do any maintenance on any equipment that is not shut down and de-energized.
  • Use guards and safeguard devices on all tools and machinery.

By following these safety tips, hopefully fewer young teens will be injured or killed when doing a summer job in landscaping.

Unfortunately, every year as many as 60 to 70 teenagers are killed because of job-related injuries and another 250,000 young people are hurt on-the-job. Hopefully, OSHA’s campaign on teen safety and the advice offered to young workers will help reduce the death toll by keeping kids safe at their summer jobs.

If a young worker does get hurt, it is important to make a workers’ compensation claim and to understand your rights for otherwise recovering compensation for damages and losses.

Contact the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl at 508-677-4900 or visit http://www.dgklaw.com to schedule your free consultation.

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