A recent study by researchers at West Virginia University School of Public Health discovered that more than half of all young workers who died in North Carolina died in accidents that involved their employers breaking child labor laws.
The lead author of the study, Kimberly Rauscher, an assistant professor at WVU, found that each year almost 900,000 young people are working in jobs that violate the OSHA Hazardous Occupations Orders. These laws are the ones that dictate which kinds of jobs those under 18 are able to wok.
The study was based on records from North Carolina medical examiner reports for adolescents between the age of 11 and 17 who died between 1990 and 2008. Tragically, fifty-two percent of cases involved one or more child labor law violations. The study found that significant child labor and OSHA violations exist in adolescent worker fatalities in North Carolina, and that gaps exist in enforcement at both the federal and state level.
The study’s author also found that the discoveries about North Carolina are likely not unique to the state given that there is not different about youth unemployment in the state. The fear is that similar problems exist across the country, potentially endangering many young workers thanks to lax regulation.
Sadly, the study also found that a relative few of the fatalities were ever actually investigated by OSHA for child labor law violations. The study’s author was troubled by the lack of enforcement action given that the only way employers are ever held responsible is if state or federal regulators aggressively pursue them.
The North Carolina Injury Attorney’s Perspective:
Sadly, not enough is being done by employers to protect young workers in North Carolina from serious harm. More needs to be done by not only employers, but the agencies tasked with monitoring them. If someone you love has been seriously injured or died as a result of workplace accident, it’s essential that you take a moment and reach out to a skilled North Carolina injury attorney. My firm has experience handling such delicate cases and can help guide you through the difficult and confusing process.
Potentially Helpful Information:
The experienced wrongful death attorneys at my firm have successfully represented both workers and the families of workers who have either been seriously wounded or killed while on the job. In one such case, my firm was able to secure an $8.6 million jury verdict for the family of a former CSX railroad worker who died after decades of exposure to toxic substances.
If you’ve recently lost a loved one in a workplace accident and need help understanding the process of filing a civil claim for damages, consider reading through my firm’s guide on the wrongful death claim process in North Carolina. It contains some important information about how such claims are handled as well as answers to basic questions about the wrongful death lawsuit process.
Have Questions? Check Out Our FAQs
Those who have lost a loved one in a senseless work-related accident will likely have many questions about what to do next to move forward and ensure that the responsible party is held accountable for the damage they caused. If you are wondering about how damages are calculated in NC wrongful death cases or curious about what “wrongful death” means, check out my firm’s responses to a series of frequently asked questions. The page contains answers to many common questions about wrongful death claims in North Carolina.
Here's a video discussing the length of time that a personal injury claim can take to be resolved: