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  • Young Worker Injury Cases

  • Young Worker Injury Cases


    The following case reports give examples of the risks young workers may face while at work:

    Case 1—Amputation in meat grinder

    In 2000, a 17-year-old bagger employed at his family’s retail grocery store suffered amputation of his right arm when it became caught in an operating meat grinder. A customer had asked him for ground beef. Because none was available at the meat counter, he decided to operate the grinder himself. Some of the meat became stuck in the grinder bowl. He removed the feed pan and reached into the bowl with his right hand, pushing the meat down into the “worm,” a rotating machine part shaped like a corkscrew. When meat fed from the bowl, the worm caught his hand and fed it into the grinder’s barrel, amputating his hand and part of his lower right arm [NIOSH 2001a].

    Case 2—Suffocation in corn bin

    In 1999, a 15-year-old worker suffocated in a corn bin while working on his family’s farm. He entered a 20,000-bushel corn bin through a door at the top to scoop corn away from a lower door of the bin. The corn in the bin sloped from the sides to the center. The center portion of the bin was empty, and the corn at the sides was about 7 feet high. A coworker opened the bin door, didn’t see the young worker, and assumed he had exited from the bin. About 30 minutes after the young worker entered the bin, two coworkers entered to check on him. They found him suffocated under approximately 4 feet of corn [Nebraska DOL 2000].

    Case 3—Shooting during robbery attempt

    In 2000, a 16-year-old restaurant cashier died when she was shot in the head during an armed robbery attempt. At 1:15 p.m., a man approached the cashier and her mother, a co-owner of the restaurant, at the cash register. He pointed a gun at the cashier, demanded money from the register, and fired the gun, striking her in the face. She was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead [Wisconsin Division of Health 2000].

    Case 4—Burns at a fast food restaurant

    In 1997, a 17-year-old worker in a fast-food restaurant suffered second- and third-degree burns on her shoulder, back, chest, and arm when hot grease splattered from an uncovered, portable grease-filtering machine. A coworker was using the machine 10 feet away to filter hot grease from a fryer used to cook French fries. As a result of the burns, the victim has undergone skin grafts and suffered permanent nerve damage [National Consumers League 2001].

    Case 5—Fatal crushing incident in cardboard baler

    In 2000, a 16-year-old produce-market worker died from crushing injuries after being caught in the vertical-downstroke baling machine he was operating. He was working alone in the basement when he was caught by the hydraulic ram of the baling machine. Another worker discovered him slumped over at the waist and leaning into the loading chamber of the machine. He may have leaned over into the compression chamber to adjust a tie wire or a box when he was caught by the ram as it moved downward [NIOSH 2000a].

    Case 6—Chlorine gas inhalation

    A 16-year-old male restaurant worker was preparing to clean the floor by mixing cleaning solutions. During the mixing, noxious fumes were emitted and he began to feel ill and light-headed. He developed chest pains and was taken to an emergency department, where he was treated for chlorine gas inhalation [NIOSH 2002b]. (Year of injury with held.)

    Case 7—Crushing death by forklift

    In 2000, a 17-year-old laborer working at a salvage lumber business was fatally injured when the forklift he was operating over turned. A coworker was riding on the right side of the forklift, holding on to the overhead guard. As the young worker turned the forklift sharply to the left, it tipped and overturned to the right. His coworker jumped out, landing with her ankle pinned to the ground by the machine. She sustained minor injuries. The operator, who was thrown or jumped from the operator’s seat, landed with his head caught between the overhead guard and the ground. He was pronounced dead at the scene [NIOSH 2001b].

    Case 8—Fatal collision while responding to fire call

    In 2000, a 17-year-old volunteer junior fire fighter died after his privately owned vehicle collided with a farm tractor. He drove into the opposite lane of a two-lane road as he negotiated a curve. He was not wearing a seat belt. His vehicle struck the tractor, which was traveling in the oncoming lane. The tractor was fitted with a front-end loader that impacted the cab area of his vehicle. He was airlifted to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead 2 hours later [NIOSH 2001c].

    Case 9—Fatal injury from trench collapse

    In 1999, a 17-year-old laborer died and a coworker was injured when an unprotected wall of the trench they were working in collapsed. The day before the incident, the trench shield used to shore up the trench had been removed to ease removal of broken sewer pipes. Although the shield had not been replaced, the young worker and a coworker were sent into the trench the next day to check the grade of the sewer line. As the two workers were placing a pole to check the grade, a section of the trench wall caved in, burying the 17-year-old worker to mid-chest level and his coworker to his knees. The two workers could not be removed until protective systems were installed to ensure the rescuers’ safety. The coworker was later admitted to the hospital and recovered from his injuries. The 17-year-old laborer underwent emergency surgery but died about 5 hours after the incident [NIOSH 2000b].

    Case 10—Crushing death beneath street sweeper

    In 1996, a 13-year-old construction laborer was crushed beneath an unattended rolling street sweeper while working at an asphalt plant owned by his father. The unattended vehicle had rolled approximately 140 feet, striking the young victim. No one else on the site saw the incident occur. [Massachusetts Department of Public Health 1996].

    Case 11—Inhalation of insecticide-containing fertilizer

    A 16-year-old male stock handler was re stocking garden shop shelves with bags of insecticide-containing fertilizer when he inhaled dust from a leaking bag. He began to choke, cough, and feel light-headed. The following morning when his symptoms had not resolved he was taken to an emergency department where he was treated for insecticide and fertilizer inhalation [NIOSH 2002b]. (Year of injury withheld.)

    This information came from a
    CDC online article.

    *** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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