How to keep teens safe at their summer jobs

DENVER - Many Colorado teens have summer jobs this year, and while that is exciting, statistics show that teenage workers get injured at a much higher rate than older workers.

“We`ve actually seen that teenage workers get hurt about twice the rate as adult workers,” said Jim McMillen with Pinnacol Assurance, the state’s largest worker’s comp carrier.

“A lot of times kids get thrown into these jobs and they don`t really recognize what the hazard is and they end up getting hurt,” McMillen said.

Data from Pinnacol shows that 380 Colorado teens were injured or became ill because of their summer jobs last year.

The most common injuries include cuts and burns, getting struck or caught by an object, lifting, slips and falls and using a vehicle.

Pinnacol also found that 54 percent of those teenager injuries happened in their first two to three months of employment, which is a rate two to three times higher than the average Colorado worker.

McMillen says employers like Water World do a fantastic job training their workers.  Water World hires about one thousand young people every summer.

“I was never worried about getting hurt,” said Sami Demers.  She and the others have to learn how to keep park visitors safe, but also keep themselves safe on the job.

They learn to cook safely, how to properly lift the larger tubes and how to stack hundreds of chairs.  Young workers also get constant reminders.  “Like make sure you wear sunscreen, you have sunglasses on, you have proper footwear, all of those things that might seem basic, but are very important to safety,” said Joann Cortez, with Water World.

According to Pinnacol, the most common injuries teens receive are to the fingers, hand, foot, ankle and skull.

Experts say teens should prioritize safety when looking for a job, and ask about safety protocol in the interview process.

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