Preparing Teens for Safe Summer Work

Teen workers can be an asset to your community association, largely because they tend to be enthusiastic and eager to learn. However, because of their biologic, social, and economic characteristics, young workers have unique and substantial risks for work-related injuries and illnesses.

Approximately 2.3 million adolescents aged 16 to 17 years worked in the U.S. in 2007. In 2006, 30 youth under 18 years of age died from work-related injuries. Every year, more than 50,000 work-related injuries and illnesses among youth less than 18 years of age are treated in hospital emergency departments. Only about one-third of work-related injuries are seen in emergency departments.

In anticipation of the summer hiring season, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revamped its Teen Workers Web page to improve access to more resources for teens, parents, employers and educators on workplace safety and health. Of particular interest to association managers is the section on lifeguarding, which contains information for teens on bad bugs, safe storage and handling of chemicals, pool safety, and summer hazards.

Other resources at the site include:

  • Frequently asked questions (FAQs) for small businesses hiring young workers. The FAQs are arranged into five categories to assist the user in identifying specific areas where a question may appear—general information, age, work hours, wages, and jobs and training. Each FAQ has multiple hyperlinks embedded in the provided response to additional information on the question being addressed. This is followed by a Related Links section designed to provide other pertinent information to the small business owner on compliance issues not specifically addressed in the provided response.
  • Links to information about common hazards teens typically encounter on the job, including unsafe equipment, inadequate safety training, dangerous work that is illegal or inappropriate for youth, and alcohol and drug abuse.
  • Self-assessment tools to help employers comply with the the youth employment provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and rules designed to protect young workers by restricting the types of jobs they perform and the number of hours they work.
  • Training tools from previous Teen Summer Job Safety campaigns, including video clips of teens demonstrating safe work practices in construction and landscaping, including general protection, hearing protection, protective shoes, lifting, shoveling, and sun and hydration.

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