Young workers face special risks on the job
Lack of experience, training can be dangerous
With many young people working summer jobs right now, OSHA is targeting teenagers with safety messages designed to educate them about hazards they may face and ways to stay safe on the job.
A special OSHA website for young workers includes:
Ways they may get sick or injured on the job:
- Unsafe equipment
- Inadequate safety training
- Inadequate supervision
- Dangerous work that is illegal or inappropriate for youth under 18
- Pressure to work faster
- Stressful conditions
- Workplace hazards associated with specific jobs
Every nine minutes, a U.S. teen gets hurt on the job.
361 young workers were killed
174,740 young workers were injured
Young workers’ rights:
- Work in a safe place.
- Receive safety and health training in a language that you understand.
- Ask questions if you don’t understand instructions or if something seems unsafe.
- Use and be trained on required safety gear, such as hard hats, goggles and ear plugs.
- Exercise your workplace safety rights without retaliation or discrimination.
- File a confidential complaint with OSHA if you believe there is a serious hazard or that your employer is not following OSHA standards.
- Provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and follow all OSHA safety and health standards.
- Provide training about workplace hazards and required safety gear.*
- Tell you where to get answers to your safety or health questions.
- Tell you what to do if you get hurt on the job.
*Employers must pay for most types of safety gear.
Ways to stay safe on the job:
To help protect yourself, you can:
- Report unsafe conditions to a shift/team leader or supervisor.
- Wear any safety gear required to do your job.
- Follow the safety rules.
- Ask questions.
- Ask for help if needed.
The website includes real stories that illustrate the dangers faced by workers who lack experience, training and the kind of judgement that comes with years on the job:
- Two young workers (ages 14 and 19) were killed at a grain storage facility in the Midwest when they were sent into a grain bin to “walk down the corn.”
- An 18-year-old worker died after becoming entangled in a portable mortar mixer at a residential construction site.
- A 17-year-old assistant pool manager was electrocuted when she contacted an ungrounded electric motor.
“Safe work is rewarding work,” OSHA tells young workers. “Your employer has the responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Employers must follow all OSHA safety and health standards to prevent you from being injured or becoming ill on the job. If you are under age 18, there may be limits on the hours you work, the jobs you do and the equipment you use. Learn about the federal and state wage and hour child labor laws that apply to you.”