It’s mid-May, and young people all over the country are starting to flock to various workplaces looking for summer jobs. Many have already secured employment, while others are still searching for the perfect gig. But since young people are typically more concerned about making money than they are about whether a workplace is safe, many of these kids may inadvertently find themselves in harm’s way. That’s why the U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA have partnered with a number of workplace safety organizations to create a social media campaign #MySafeSummerJob.
The campaign was launched in April and will continue through May 17, 2019.
Resources for Kids
Young people ages 15 to 25 are particularly vulnerable to workplace accidents. Teens especially have a high rate of injury due to lack of experience with the hazards that accompany many jobs. According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, in 2017, workers 16 to 24 years of age accounted for 12 percent of all job-related injuries in the United States. And the CDC reports that kids under 18 have over twice the rate of on-the-job injuries as workers over the age of 25.
The goal of #MySafeSummerJob is to teach young about when they may be at risk and empower them to do the things that will keep them safe. The list of available materials is extensive, and includes YouTube videos, easy-to-read handouts, and FAQs shared over Twitter and Facebook posts. These brief, easily digestible tidbits of information cover issues such as:
- Basic workplace rights, such as the right to a safe work environment and the right to be adequately trained before taking on a task
- Employer responsibilities, such as providing appropriate safety equipment and educating employees about how to stay safe at work
- Worker responsibilities, such as avoiding distractions, following safety protocols and reporting injuries to their employers immediately.
- Common on-the-job hazards
- Jobs that employers are prohibited by federal law from assigning to children under 18. These include but aren’t limited to working with explosives or radioactive materials, demolition work, and working involving many different types of power tools and machinery.
Parents Also Have a Role
Although the #MySafeSummerJob initiative is aimed at young people, the parents of teenagers who are starting new jobs play a role in ensuring their safety, too. Sadly, while many parents help their kids find summer jobs and get to and from work, very few make the effort to ensure that the work their child is doing is appropriate and safe.
If you’re the parent of a teen who’s starting a new job, make it your business to learn exactly what their role will be. Educate yourself about the types of activities the law says your child can’t perform, and talk to your teenager to make sure they are not doing any of those things. Additionally, ask your child about what training they’ve received. Teens rarely have the judgement to fully understand the risks they face and have a pervasive sense of being invincible to harms. So it’s up to you as a parent to make sure they have everything they need to stay safe.
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