Work-related deaths in children

Am J Ind Med. 1991;19(6):739-45. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700190607.


An analysis of OSHA fatality investigations for 1984-1987 found 104 work-related deaths in children. The largest category (30%) involved industrial vehicles and equipment, followed by electrocution (17%) and falls (11%). Forty-three deaths (41%) occurred while engaged in types of work prohibited for children by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Three deaths involved work with conveyors, an activity currently permitted for child workers under FLSA. OSHA issued citations for safety violations in 70% of deaths. Since OSHA investigates only some work-related deaths, the actual number of child labor fatalities during the four year period was probably higher. Using information from OSHA and from death certificate data, we estimate that there are at least 100 work-related deaths in the United States in children under 18 each year. Hazardous child labor continues to occur even in industries regulated by OSHA and FLSA.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / mortality*
  • Adolescent
  • Cause of Death
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration