Before taking on a summer job, college students need to be aware of on-the-job-dangers and how to prepare for them. As teenagers, taking on jobs such as babysitting, or doing chores around the house, it might not be conceivable to them that a job can be dangerous. But once they reach college and summer jobs become more of a necessity, young adults need to understand the potential dangers, but even more, they need to understand what they’re entitled to if they are injured while working.
The summer jobs kids take on during college are nearly as diverse as the job market itself. Depending on their skills, qualifications, and experience, they may land jobs doing everything from sitting behind a desk in an office to working at a construction site. While some jobs do entail more physically demanding work, and take place in seemingly more dangerous settings, even that desk job can be an accident waiting to happen.
College students will sometimes take on manual labor jobs, or those that require skill but little experience. These jobs are seen as the opportunities to build experience so that once they graduate and embark on their careers, they have a good work history behind them. Construction sites and restaurants are common places for college kids to seek work. They’re also where a lot of work-related injuries occur, from falling bricks to hot grease burns.
Perhaps surprisingly, though, office workers are twice as likely to be injured as non-office workers, particularly by falling. Those who work on computers all day are also prone to repetitive stress injuries. These are injuries caused by repeatedly performing the same small movements, such as moving and clicking a mouse, or typing on a keyboard. If they become serious enough, they can lead to an absence from work. Millions of people every year miss work due to injuries like this, and end up filing workers compensation claims.
The thing is, a college student who has a part-time job over the summer may not realize that he is also entitled to workers compensation coverage. It’s not limited to full-time employees. In addition, the injury doesn’t have to occur in the workplace for the employee to be covered. It does have to occur during a work-related task, though, or even a social function that is business-related.
Before accepting summer jobs, college students must take into account not only the work hours and pay, but the potential for injury on the job. An injury that is serious enough to prevent them from returning to school could have serious consequences on their educational path. Once they’ve determined the reward is worth the risk, students need to familiarize themselves with workers compensation benefits and company policies. They should talk to the company’s human resources office to ensure they understand their rights, and the proper reporting procedures should a workplace mishap occur.
In addition, upon taking a summer job, college students should find ways to maintain safety on the job. By adhering to safety policies already in place, and working responsibly, they can avoid workplace injuries, and return to school in the fall with great experience on their r