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Creating Safer Workplaces for Young People

May 07, 2019

A summer job is an exciting time for a young person. From earning money to taking on Young barista at a coffee shopmore responsibilities and learning new skills – it is an invaluable experience. That experience, however, carries an increased risk of being injured. Workers age 15 to 19 suffer nearly twice the rate of workplace injuries as workers over age 24. In addition, workers between the age 15 and 25 experience a workplace injury every nine minutes and a workplace fatality at a rate of once per day.

A collaborative campaign, My Safe Summer Job, aims to educate young workers, parents, employers, supervisors and teachers about the importance of workplace safety and how to avoid hazards on the job. The campaign highlights five key elements of creating safe workplaces for young people.

  1. Workers’ Rights. At the federal and state level, protections specifically address the safety and well-being of young workers. Employers and workers should familiarize themselves with these requirements to develop a comprehensive understanding of the types of jobs available to different age groups, the number of hours they can work and their minimum wage.
  2. Hazard Identification. Workers of any age must be familiar with the hazards present in their workplaces and how to avoid them. Since statistics indicate that young workers are more vulnerable to injury, hazard identification takes on added importance. The campaign website provides resources on common hazards young people face in the workplace and how they can be avoided.
  3. Raising Voices. It’s important for employers and supervisors to foster a culture in which workers, particularly young workers, feel comfortable bringing safety hazards to the attention of their supervisor. Workers should also not be afraid to ask questions about how to operate properly so that they and their co-workers stay safe.
  4. Preventing Injuries. While young workers have a higher probability of workplace injuries, those injuries are largely preventable. By teaching young people to be aware of their surroundings and educating them on how to perform their jobs safely, employers and supervisors can work to create safer work environments and minimize workplace injuries.
  5. The Importance of Teamwork. Safe workplaces take commitment and dedication from every employee across the operation. By showing employees that they care and are actively invested in worker safety, employers and supervisors can create a culture in which workers actively look out for each other’s safety and well-being. Subsequently, this helps mitigate hazards and create safer workplaces.

We are proud to participate in this campaign with organizations including OSHA, NIOSH and CPWR to educate workers, employers and parents on the risks faced by young people in the workplace.

Related Links
Protecting Young Workers: Coordinated Strategies Help to Raise Safety Awareness
Observations on a Teen's First Job: Research Suggests Some Tough Questions
New Employees & Safety Culture: A Social Cognitive Theory Perspective
The Safety of Adolescent Workers

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