Many teens’ earliest jobs involve working in restaurants. While restaurant jobs may not be considered among the most dangerous, they are not without their risks – particularly for servers, bussers and others who are in and out of the kitchen. In addition to the risks of being around hot food and plates along with sharp knives and other utensils, there’s always the risk of slipping in spills.
Injuries suffered by restaurant employees typically involve one or more of the following:
- Cuts/puncture wounds
- Slip-and-fall injuries
This last category often involves injuries suffered while carrying large trays with multiple dishes and drinks while maneuvering around tables and people, rearranging tables and chairs and other physical labor that’s often part of a restaurant worker’s duties.
Why teens may be at greater risk of serious injury than older employees
As in virtually any job, teens can be at greater risk of injury than their older colleagues. They often work part time, seasonally or while on break from school. That means employers too often don’t give them the kind of safety training provided to full-time employees – even though they’re supposed to. Further, they’re often eager to do whatever is asked of them, so they may take risks that older workers don’t.
Many teens are hesitant to report injuries. They may not even know that there is a reason to report work-related harm. Alternatively, they may fear losing hours or losing their job completely. They may not think an injury is particularly serious and not get medical attention until it worsens.
Understanding the right to workers’ compensation
It’s crucial for teens and their parents to understand their rights and protections in the workplace – whether they’re working a few hours a week during the school year or full-time during summer vacations.
Among these is a right to workers’ compensation benefits. Most employers in Connecticut (and other states) are required to carry workers’ comp insurance for employees, regardless of their work schedules and their age. This coverage is meant to pay for medical care and some reimbursement for lost wages due to a work-related injury.
If your teen has suffered a work-related injury or illness, don’t let their employer or anyone else tell them they’re not entitled to file a workers’ comp claim or dissuade them from doing so. It’s important to learn more about their rights under the law if you have questions. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.