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Keeping Young Workers Safe This Season

As the school season comes to a close, teens and young adults will be searching for summer jobs to help pay for various expenses. In fact, about 70% to 80% of teens report to have worked sometime during their high school years.

According to NIOSH, teens are susceptible for workplace injury due to their biological, social and economic risks – most especially, lack of experience and their cognitive and emotional development characteristics. With that said, it is estimated that approximately 146,000 teens sustain work-related injuries and illnesses each year. In 2007, the injury rate to injuries was 4.2 to every 100 full-time positions.

Most non-fatal injuries occur in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries, followed by retail trade, construction and service industries (e.g. nursing homes, amusement parks and swimming pools). The commonly most reported incidents for injury include transportation, contact with objects/equipment, assaults and violent acts and exposure to harmful substances and environments.

If you plan to hire teens in your workplace this summer season, here are a few informative tips to equip yourself and your workplace for teen labor:

  • Know the Federal Child Labor Laws and State Laws for employing teens in your workplace
  • Have a centralized work permit system to keep track of hours
  • Teach teens their rights and safety information. NIOSH offers a Youth@Work program to incorporate occupational safety and health in a training setting
  • Know your workplace hazards – either reduce your hazardsĀ  or address safety practices to your teen employees
  • Make sure all young workers are appropriately supervised
  • Create an injury and illness prevention program such as BEEA+ amongst all departments and employees within your workplace

For more information about Young Workers in the workplace, visit NIOSH: Young Worker Safety and Health or the OSHA Young Worker Fact Sheet

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