Background: A comprehensive surveillance system for occupational injuries to adolescents does not exist in Texas, as in most states. Therefore, the magnitude, severity, nature, and source of injuries to working adolescents have not been well described in Texas.
Methods: The investigators used three data sources to investigate work-related injuries and deaths in Texas: (1) Texas Workers' Compensation Commission (TWCC) claims data from 1991 through April 1996; (2) 1993 TWCC/Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses; and (3) work-related fatalities identified from Texas death certificates from 1990-1995.
Results: There were 9,027 injuries reported to the TWCC for adolescents 14-17 years of age during slightly more than 5 years. Injuries for which indemnity payments were made (more than 7 days out of work) occurred among 21.7% of the adolescents. Based on BLS data in 1993, of 992 non-fatal injuries involving days away from work, 35% were caused by contact with objects, 27% by bodily reaction, and 24% by falls. Two-thirds of these injuries occurred while working in eating and drinking places and grocery stores. Three-quarters of the 30 deaths from 1990-1995 were accounted for equally by motor vehicle and homicide.
Conclusions: In conclusion, a substantial number of adolescents are injured or killed in the workplace each year in Texas. Although improved population-based surveillance is needed, sufficient knowledge exists to begin prevention efforts now.