Summer Jobs, Young Employees & Workplace Injuries: The Basic Facts

544065_life_guard_4.jpgDuring the summer months, it's common for Missouri high school and college students to take on summer jobs, hoping to earn a little extra cash. While it might not seem like the average summer job could be dangerous, young workers ought to know their rights and responsibilities, just in case they fall victim to a workplace accident or injury.

These days, summer job opportunities can be diverse, covering a wide range of positions and duties. From lifeguarding to construction work, summer jobs can come with a variety of risks - and because many of these jobs require little to no experience, young workers are often unfamiliar with the kinds of workplace situations that can lead to injury. Building sites, farms, supermarkets and restaurants are common places for young adults to work during the summer. Under certain circumstances, these locations can present increased risks of work-related injuries related to machinery or falling debris. Slip and fall incidents, burns, and other injuries are also common.

We traditionally think workers who perform manual labor are most prone to injury, but in truth, office workers frequently suffer injuries requiring medical treatment, particularly as a result of falling. Cluttered walkways, torn carpeting, loose cables and other unsafe conditions can lead to workplace falls, which can result in bruising and abrasions, broken bones, and even head injuries. In addition, office workers commonly sustain repetitive stress injuries, which are caused by performing the same small task over and over. These injuries can require medical treatment, therapy, and rehabilitation: each year, millions of people suffer repetitive stress injuries and miss time from work due to their injury. Many file workers' compensation claims.

Some young workers may not realize that they can file a claim when they are hurt on the job. Work-related injuries can have effects that last far beyond the time span of a summer job, negatively impacting future education and employment options. For this reason, young employees should be aware that a workers' compensation claim can help manage the various expenses associated with such injuries. However, there are certain time limits that apply: the Missouri Department of Labor advises employees that "failure to report your injury to your employer [in writing] within 30 days may jeopardize your ability to receive workers' compensation benefits."

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