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Falling pole kills teen employee in workplace accident

While summertime in Philadelphia is an occasion for high school and college students to enjoy a well-deserved break from their studies, it is also a time for some to pick up a temporary job to earn money for the coming academic year. Many teenagers and young adults may find themselves in unfamiliar work environments, however, some of which carry the risk of workplace accidents.

In one particularly heart-rending story from another state, a 15-year-old boy was killed while working at his father's business. The company makes wire-carrying poles for use by power companies. The accident occurred when the teen was standing on the factory floor as another employee was using a piece of machinery to place poles in a large stack. One pole came loose and hit the boy's head, killing him immediately.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration may choose to investigate the employee's death, but at this stage there have been no reports that it will do so. A coroner determined that the teen's death was an accident, and local authorities have said that the boy did not leave a safe distance between himself and the poles as they were being stacked upon each other.

The teen's apparent inexperience highlights the dangers that other seasonal employees face this summer. While few workplaces have stacks of hefty utility poles, many jobs popular with teens and college students--such as those in supermarkets, restaurants and retail stores--carry the potential to injure new employees unfamiliar with the safe way to go about the job.

Source: Sun Herald, "Teen, 15, dies in workplace accident at Lucedale pole business," Robin Fitzgerald, July 2, 2012.

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