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Keeping young workers safe

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Do you have teens about to start work or who are new to work? Work can be a very positive experience but there are some things you and your teen should know. Did you know that young people under the age of 25 are twice as likely to get hurt on-the-job than older workers? Young workers have high occupational injury rates which can be explained by the number of hazards in workplaces where they typically work. Inexperience and lack of safety training may also increase risk for young workers. And, for the youngest workers, those in middle and high schools, there may be biologic and psychosocial contributors to increased injury rates, such as inadequate fit, strength and cognitive abilities.

What can parents do?

  • Know the risks. Teens can and do get hurt on the job. Different types of jobs may have different hazards. For example, in a restaurant setting there may be slippery floors or utensils such as knives and cooking equipment are used.
  • Talk to your teen. Ask them what tasks they do at work. Ask them about the training they received and if it is helpful. Ask about their supervision at work. Encourage them to speak up!
  • Watch for warning signs. Tiredness, loss of interest, unhappy at work, work injuries, employer cited for breaking child labor laws.
  • Help resolve work problems. If your teen seems concerned about anything at work, help him or her think about what change is needed and who can help make the change.

Where can parents find more information?

Information for parents of working teens can be found at http://youngemployeesafety.org/for-parents/.

Laurel Kincl, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety
College of Public Health and Human Sciences
Oregon State University


This is posted in conjunction with Oregon Parenting Education Week 2013

The Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families promotes the development and well being of children, youth and families by generating, translating and sharing research-based knowledge.

The Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative (OPEC) supports delivery of high quality parenting education programs and collaborative efforts to strengthen regional parenting education systems.

OPEC is a partnership of four of Oregon’s largest foundations (The Oregon Community Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, The Meyer Memorial Trust and The Collins Foundation) and Oregon State University.