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Summer job turns fatal for 15-year-old employee

Many North Carolina teenagers jump at the chance to find summer employment, especially in a tight job market. Obtaining these jobs serves as practical experience for future employment as an adult.

However, for one young man and his family, the summer work experience took a tragic turn. The 15 year old was spending the summer working for his father, who owns a firm that makes poles for power companies. Recently, a workplace accident prematurely claimed the young man's life.

One afternoon, one of the young man's co-workers was loading a pole onto a stack. The poles are fastened together be metal straps, but this particular pole bounced off the stack while being moved. As it fell, it struck the 15-year-old boy, who was standing nearby, on the head. He died instantaneously.

Of course, the boy's employer and co-workers are understandably shocked by this incident. As the dust settles, it is still unclear if the Occupational Health and Safety Administration will join local police in the accident investigation.

This case raises the questions not only about workplace safety in general, but also the safety of young people working in dangerous summer jobs. Since summer employment only lasts for a few months, training periods may be stinted or employee inexperience could become an issue. For this reason, employers should be certain that their young employees have all the resources they need to remain safe while on the job.

No matter the occupation or age of the employee, the standards for safety and workers' compensation apply. Just as summer jobs are seen as a way to instill a sense of responsibility into young people, employers have a responsibility to all of their employees as well.

Source: The Sun Herald, "Teen, 15, dies in workplace accident at Lucedale pole business," July 2, 2012

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