04/22/2013 // Keller Grover LLP // Eric Grover // (press release)

A shocking new study by the West Virginia University School of Public Health has shed light on just how many children are dying on the job in the state of North Carolina as a result of child labor law violations, reports Bay Area employment lawyer Eric Grover.

According to the report, more than fifty percent of young worker deaths in North Carolina occurred as a result of child labor law violations made by employers.

The study looked at medical examiner records in order to identify work-related fatalities among children and teens between the ages 11and 17 from 1990 to 2008, as well as related child labor violations. In addition, investigations from state and federal Departments of Labor were used to determine inspection activity, identify Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations and confirm child labor violations, reported WVUHealthcare.com.

“From our prior results, we estimate that annually as many as 888,000 youth may be employed in violation of the Hazardous Occupations Orders, the laws that limit the types of jobs and tasks that youth under age 18 can perform,” said Kimberly Rauscher, M.A., Sc.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor in the WVU Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences and faculty affiliate with the WVU Injury Control Research Center.

Surprisingly, the study also noted that few of the fatalities were investigated by the agencies that are supposed to be responsible for enforcement of child labor laws and OSHA guidelines.

In addition Rauscher noted that in a prior study they “were shocked to find that while most knew that the child labor laws existed, they knew next to nothing about what the laws were.”

“This a huge problem, because it shows that many child labor violations are falling through the cracks and children are losing their lives as a result,” says Grover, a Bay Area employment lawyer. “This case in North Carolina is not occurring in a vacuum. It’s likely happening in your hometown and potentially putting your children at risk.”

“This study should serve as a wake-up call to employers, parents, and even adolescents looking for employment. It’s important to know your rights so that you or your children understand what are appropriate conditions for young people to be working in,” Grover continued.

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