Children and Young Workers

Issues

Why tackle the issue of child labour and young workers?

Business case and what can go wrong

  • There are over 4 million workers in the UK aged between 16 and 24 years old.

  • Nearly 4,500 young people are seriously injured or killed at work every year, 20% more than five years ago.

  • In Britain, a worker aged between 16 and 24 years old suffers a reported workplace injury requiring more than 3 days off work every 12 minutes of every working day. A young worker is seriously injured at work every 40 minutes. One person aged under 25 dies every month in a workplace accident.

  • The figures show that 46 under-18s have died in farm accidents in the past 11 years. Of the 46 reported deaths, 19 were under six; and 10 were aged 16 or 17.

  • The TUC’s ‘Play safe at work’ survey suggested many employers are doing far too little to protect young workers. It found 37% of 15 to 24 year olds had received no health and safety training, despite a clear legal duty on employers. Even workers on government funded learning schemes are at risk.

  • Across Europe, the European Commission estimates that workers in the 18-24 age group are at least 50% more likely to be injured in the workplace than more experienced workers.

Click here for a case study. (Displayed in a popup window.)

Children and young workers

Case study - Young farm worker had leg amputated by a power harrow

A boy had to have part of his leg amputated after his friend ran over it with a ploughing machine on a farm in the Market Harborough area. The 16-year-old had been attempting to get into a tractor being driven by his 14-year-old friend, when he slipped and fell under the vehicle’s rear wheels and the spikes of a power harrow went through his right leg.

The farm owner admitted breaching the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) code of practice, was charged under the Health and Safety at Work Act and fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,199 HSE costs. The court heard that under the HSE rules, the farmer should not have let the 14-year-old carry passengers on the tractor, and should not have let him drive it at all with a power machine attached

Too Young to Die Campaign, Hazards Magazine September 2006 www.hazards.org/2young2die

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