Young Worker Safety

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With the end of the school year upon us and summer fast approaching, young workers will be flooding the job market and beginning their temporary summer employment. Most employers devote vast resources to their company safety and health programs and work around the clock to ensure their workers are safe. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposes strict compliance requirements that employers must adhere to.

This time of year can be very busy and it is important that employers never neglect to keep young workers safe. All workers have a right to a safe and healthy workplace. Hazards are present whether a young worker is working at a construction site, a grocery store, an office setting or a warehouse.

Young workers are generally inexperienced and don’t receive much formal training for these jobs. While these workers can be a tremendous asset to a business, the employer must always keep in mind that these workers are young and may not have adequate experience. For some, it may be their first job or the first time they are operating equipment. Whether short-term or long-term, employers must treat all workers equally and this includes providing proper safety training.

According to OSHA, young workers are exposed to a variety of hazards on the job that may result in injuries or illness. These can include:

  • Unsafe equipment
  • Inadequate safety training
  • Inadequate supervision
  • Dangerous work that is illegal or inappropriate for youth under 18
  • Pressure to work faster
  • Stressful conditions

Working to reduce or minimize these hazards and providing proper training is necessary to protect young workers. It is also important for young workers to take it upon themselves to seek knowledge and work safely.

Three workplace safety tips for young workers to remember:

  1. Get training about workplace hazards and always use required safety gear
  2. Ask questions if you don’t understand instructions or if something seems unsafe
  3. Immediately report unsafe conditions to your supervisor

For more information on maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for young workers and ways to make sure your workplace is a safe one, please visit OSHA’s website for young workers. Follow the hashtag #MySafeSummerJob on Twitter and help spread the word about the importance of workplace safety to young workers, educators, parents, supervisors, and employers.

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