If safety counts, then last year was a terrible year to be a teenager with a job in Washington.
The state Department of Labor & Industries said last week in a release that more workers aged 17 and under were injured on the job in 2014 than in the previous year.
Falls occurring in the food and retail sectors were the leading cause of those injuries.
A total of 547 workers in that age group were injured at work in the state last year, up nearly 14.7 percent over the previous year, the agency said. Of the 547, 173 were injured while employed in the food and hospitality industries. The next largest total, 80, was reported in both the retail trade and agriculture sectors.
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Falls increased 77 percent, to 55 cases.
“We want to ensure that employers have youth performing safe and appropriate work,” said L&I Director Joel Sacks.
“I encourage parents to ask questions and make sure they know the specific duties their child is performing on the job,” he said.
“All workers have a right to appropriate training and can refuse work assignments that are unsafe,” the agency said.
In general, 14- and 15-year-olds may perform lighter tasks, such as office work, cashiering and stocking shelves, the release stated. Work assignments for 16- and 17-year-olds can be less restrictive and include cooking and some landscaping work. The limit on hours worked varies by age.