230293 Are teens who work in family-businesses more likely to engage in hazardous tasks and be injured compared with other working teens

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM

Kristina Zierold, PhD, MS , Epidemiology and Population Health, University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, Louisville, KY
Savi Appana, MS , Department of Biostatistics, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Henry Anderson, MD , Division of Public Health, Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, Madison, WI
BACKGROUND: Teens who work for their parents or guardians may be at a greater risk for work-related injury or illness compared with other working teens, because current federal child labor laws do not apply to teens working in family-owned businesses; as long as the work does not involve tasks which are considered hazardous. While anecdotal evidence has suggested that teens employed by their families are “overworked” and “underpaid,” no actual information regarding the work experiences of these teens is available.

METHODS: A comprehensive questionnaire was administered to 8,085 high school students in multiple school districts throughout Wisconsin. In total, 6,810 students responded to the survey (84% response rate).

RESULTS: Compared to other working teens, teens employed in family-businesses were statistically more likely to work 23 or more hours per week, work before 8:00 AM, and be exposed to hazardous substances. Teens employed in family-businesses were significantly more likely to be injured (15.7% vs. 12.6%, p=0.025) and suffer more severe injuries (29.8% vs. 23%, p=0.0123) compared to other working teens. The job tasks of teens employed in family-businesses were different compared with other working teens. Teens employed in family businesses were statistically more likely to report doing hazardous tasks such as roofing, carpentry, and tree-trimming.

CONCLUSIONS: Teens employed in family-businesses have a different work profile compared with other working teens. They work longer hours, they work different hours, and they do different tasks, including more hazardous tasks. Changes in labor laws need to be considered to protect teens employed by families.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the work characteristics, job tasks, and injuries of teens aged 14-17 employed in family-businesses. 2. Compare teens who are employed in family-business to other working teens regarding injuries, job tasks, and work characteristics. 3. Assess the need for changes in child labor laws to include youth employment in family businesses.

Keywords: Youth at Work, Family Involvement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have been working on the grant for one year as the main statistician.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.