Characteristics of adolescent work injuries reported to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

Am J Public Health. 1994 Apr;84(4):606-11. doi: 10.2105/ajph.84.4.606.


Objectives: The purpose of the study was to provide descriptive data and incidence data on adolescent work-related injuries and to determine whether such injuries are underreported to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

Methods: The study consisted of a 1-year survey of 534 adolescent work-related injuries reported to the Department of Labor and Industry and a cross-sectional survey of 3312 public high school students from throughout Minnesota. The high school survey used an abbreviated questionnaire with a subset of items from the Department of Labor and Industry survey.

Results: Ninety-six percent of the injuries were strains and sprains, cuts and lacerations, burns, bruises and contusions, and fractures. There were 11 hospitalizations; 4 were for burns that occurred during work in restaurants. Eighty workers (15%) reported permanent impairment as a result of their injuries. It was estimated that there were 2268 reportable injuries to working adolescents in Minnesota during the study year.

Conclusions: The most common serious injuries were injuries to the lower back and burns. The demographic characteristics of adolescents whose injuries were reported to the Department of Labor and Industry were similar to those of injured adolescent workers identified through the high school survey. The results suggest that there is substantial underreporting of adolescent work injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent, Hospitalized / statistics & numerical data
  • Back Injuries
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupations
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology