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School's out: Are your young workers safe?

June 17, 2005
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Summer time often means an influx of young workers into the workplace, working summer or temporary jobs. And although teen workers can be an asset to your workforce, offering enthusiasm and an eagerness to learn, on-the-job injuries to teens can take its toll on your business and the families involved.

OSHA suggests that employers consider implementing the following safety precautions:

  • Review the worksite to eliminate identified hazards and to ensure jobs are as safe as possible. Youth Rules! Protecting the Working Teen, is an eight-minute video intended to assist employers understand what their responsibilities are for providing a safe and healthful workplace for teenage workers.

  • Provide training to ensure that adolescents recognize hazards and are competent in safe work practices. Training should include preparing for fires, accidents, violent situations, and what to do if they get injured.

  • Provide appropriate supervisors for teens that recognize hazards and are competent in safe work practices.

  • Stress safety, particularly among first-line supervisors; they have the greatest opportunity to influence teens and their work habits.

  • Implement a mentoring or buddy system for new youth workers. Have either an adult or experienced teen be a buddy to answer questions to help the inexperienced worker.

  • Encourage teens to ask questions about tasks or procedures that are unclear or not understood.

  • Ensure that equipment operated by teens is both legal and safe for them to use. Employers should label equipment young workers are not allowed to operate.
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