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Published: Fri, July 12, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



By KATIE-NELL SCANLON

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Final exams are history.

The mercury is staying above the 80-degree mark. The schoolwork is done, and the summer work begins.

According to a survey conducted by the National Consumers League, 62 percent of youths age 14-18 receive most of their money from part-time and neighborhood jobs.

Although these may seem about as dangerous as buttering bread for more than 1,000 sandwiches at a sub shop, some teens don't consider the issue of safety when punching in the timecard.

The National Consumers League has released a list of the top five unsafe summer jobs for teens. The rankings are based on federal accident and injury reports compiled by the advocacy group.

Delivery work, late-night and cash-based employment top the list along with cooking, construction, and traveling youth crews.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, reports that 231,000 U.S. workers under age 18 are injured on the job each year. In 2000, 73 employees under 18 and 29 under 16 were killed in work-related tragedies.

Laws

According to the Ohio Department of Commerce, Wage and Hour Bureau and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Ohio and Pennsylvania law prohibits teens from performing certain jobs.

Pennsylvania Labor and Industry secretary Johnny J. Butler released a reminder to all employers regarding child labor laws last week. In Pennsylvania, dangerous occupations include operation of heavy or cutting machinery, and other high-risk construction and mechanical jobs. Youths age 14 and 15 can work only between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., but there are no night work limits on 16- and 17-year-olds.

Ohio law varies slightly, permitting minors under 16 to work between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. during the summer months, and 16- and 17-year-olds have no restriction on night work when school is not in session.

Although federal and state law prohibits teen-agers from working high-risk jobs, it does not address the issue of danger in common part-time jobs where employees may be working alone or operating a vehicle.

NCL Vice President Darlene Adkins said in a press release that "some child labor laws haven't been updated in over 60 years, long before the rise of fast-food restaurants and 24-hour convenience stores," which is where teens often run into dangerous conditions.

Locally

Brier Hill Pizza on South Meridian Road in Youngstown takes no chances when it comes to safety. Manager Paul Krusely explained that not only are his delivery workers insured but their vehicles are examined periodically throughout the year to guarantee safety.

"Vehicles are checked top to bottom, from turn signals, to brakes, to windshield wipers," Krusely explained.

The employees are also logged into a driver locator system that allows Krusely to know where they are, what time they leave on each delivery, and how much money they are holding.

"We have a dropping system here that reduces the amount of cash a deliverer is carrying," Krusely explained. "That way someone won't see an abundance of cash and decide to rob one of my drivers."

Krusely said that amount is no more than $20 to $50.

Subway in Hubbard is one establishment that hires teens frequently for summer work. Manager Patty Shroeder said employees under 18 perform all tasks except closing duties, because their policy prohibits minors younger than 16 from working past 11 p.m.

Subway in Girard, which hires several teens for summer work, closes at 10 p.m. Shroeder also commented that all employees are paired during shifts for safety and efficiency.

However, some employers do not hire any workers under 18. Jim King, manager of Sami Quick Stop Food and Beverage in Salem, said, "Employees have to be 18 to sell alcohol and to operate the fryer, so there isn't much else for them to do except mop floors."

Doesn't sound appealing? Just think, in no time you'll be drooling on your desk during fourth period dreaming about, what else, summer.

kscanlon@vindy.com




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