Resources for Young Worker Safety and Health
Federal Resources - OSHA
The first job for many young workers is in the restaurant industry, especially in fast-food establishments. Restaurants and other retail businesses rank high among U.S. industries for risk of adolescent worker injuries. OSHA offers these resources related to restaurants and retail businesses:
Each year, more than 2 million young people under the age of 20 are exposed to farm-related safety hazards. OSHA developed a tool that describes common agricultural hazards and offers potential safety solutions that both employers and young workers can use to prevent accidents and avoid injury on the job:
OSHA has also posted helpful information for young workers in construction and landscaping about head and eye protection, protective shoes, hearing protection, lifting, shoveling, and sun and hydration:
OSHA has developed animated videos that show how quickly workers can be injured or killed on the job. The videos are intended to assist in the identification, reduction and elimination of construction-related hazards.
OSHA has developed a nationwide outreach campaign to raise awareness among workers and employers about the hazards of falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs. Falls can be prevented and lives can be saved through three simple steps: Plan. Provide. Train.
OSHA encourages outdoor workers to seek water, rest and shade. Learn more at:
Many workers are also exposed to heat on some jobs or in hot indoor environments. Operations involving high air temperatures, radiant heat sources, high humidity or direct physical contact with hot objects or strenuous physical activities have a high potential for causing heat-related illness. Learn more at:
Federal Resources - U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division assists teens, parents, employers and educators in understanding federal and state rules concerning young workers through its Youth Rules! website, which offers these resources:
- Employer's Pocket Guide to Youth Employment (PDF)
- Fact Sheet #2A: Child Labor Rules for Employing Youth in Restaurants and Quick-Service Establishments under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- Fact Sheet #37: Application of the Federal Child Labor Provisions to Amusement Parks and Recreation Establishments under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- Fact Sheet #38: Child Labor Rules for Employing Youth in Grocery Stores under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- Fact Sheet #43: Youth Employment Provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for Nonagricultural Occupations
Taking out the trash is one of the duties commonly assigned to teen workers in retail and service establishments. While most of the duties associated with taking out the trash are safe for teens to perform, loading trash into a compactor or baler can present both safety hazards and potential violations of the federal child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Learn more at:
Federal Resources - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
NIOSH is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. NIOSH's Young Worker Workplace Safety & Health Topics Page includes these resources:
- Work-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes: Preventing Injuries to Young Drivers: What Parents Should Know (PDF). This fact sheet provides information about Federal and state laws that cover workplace driving and offers recommendations for preventing motor vehicle crashes among younger workers.
- Work-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes: Preventing Injuries to Young Drivers: What Employers Should Know (PDF). This fact sheet provides information about Federal and state laws that cover workplace driving and offers recommendations for preventing motor vehicle crashes among younger workers.
- Preventing Deaths, Injuries, and Illnesses of Young Workers (PDF). This publication summarizes available information about work-related injuries among young workers, identifies work that is especially hazardous and offers recommendations for preventing injuries and illnesses.
- Youth@Work: Talking Safety. This curriculum on occupational safety and health can be used in classroom or other group trainings. It has been customized for each state and Puerto Rico to address state-specific rules and regulations and includes step-by-step instructions for educators.
- Are You a Teen Worker? This guide gives young workers the facts they need to stay safe and healthy at work. It also shows young workers what jobs they can (and cannot) do and teaches them about their rights and responsibilities.
- Safe Work for Youth in Construction-Information for Employers. This pamphlet describes risks for young workers doing construction work and provides recommendations for employers on how to prevent young worker injuries and deaths.
Federal Resources - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Can You Dig It? This pamphlet, developed by several federal and state agencies, is targeted to workers less than 24 years of age in landscaping, greenhouses and nurseries. It provides information on relevant age restrictions in federal child labor laws, safety and health hazards associated with this work, employee rights, and contact information for relevant federal agencies. En español.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) website for youth in the workforce is Youth@Work. The EEOC's goal is to eliminate illegal discrimination from the workplace for all workers. This website is designed to teach youth about some of their rights and responsibilities as an employee.
Oregon OSHA launches video series to educate young workers.
The Connecticut Young Worker Safety and Health Team, a coalition of federal and state agencies and private organizations, has launched a new website for Young Workers.
Oklahoma Department of Labor and Oklahoma Safety Council’s "Speak Out for Workplace Safety" annual video contest.
The Massachusetts Department of Health’s (MDPH) Teens at Work: Injury Surveillance and Prevention Project tracks work-related injuries to teens under 18 and collaborates with partners to reduce workplace hazards and prevent injuries to working teens. This project has expanded its scope to also collect data on injuries to workers ages 18-24. The MDPH is part of a coalition that sponsors an annual Safe Jobs for Youth Poster Contest.
The University of California at Los Angeles' Labor and Occupational Safety and Health Program has a Young Workers Project that is designed to address environmental and occupational health problems that teenagers face at work.
The University of California at Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program's (LOHP's) Young Workers' Health and Safety Project coordinates the California Partnership for Young Worker Health and Safety, a statewide task force that develops and promotes strategies to protect youth at work and serves as an advisory group on young worker advocacy projects. This partnership also has a website to promote young worker health and safety.
- Under a Susan Harwood Training Grant, the University of California at Berkeley provided training to young workers and hard-to-reach workers in the nail salon and restaurant industries. Training materials include worker handouts, instructor materials and PowerPoint presentations. Select materials are available in English, Vietnamese and Spanish.
The National Young Worker Safety Resource Center is a project of U.C. Berkeley's Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) and the Education Development Center in Massachusetts. This Center provides training, technical assistance and resources to state and community groups throughout the country. Their document, Engaging Employers in Protecting Young Workers (PDF), provides tips and best practices to help employers keep young workers safe on the job.
Under a Susan Harwood Training Grant, the Georgia Tech Research Institute created the Southeast Center for Young Worker Safety and Health to provide training, educational resources, technical experts and online resources for young workers, parents, teachers and employers. Seven free-of-charge safety and health training modules for students, employers and teachers are available.
The American Society of Safety Engineers recently launched "Don't Be a Zombie at Work," an interactive, online computer game designed to help teens stay safe in the workplace.
Safety at Work is an online resource for workers, employers, unions, educators, parents and youth community groups. WorkSafe BC sponsors an annual video contest for young workers and posts the videos on its website.
Work Safe Alberta is an initiative to reduce work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities in consultation with industry and labor. Young worker resources are part of this initiative, including an annual high school video contest.
OSHA Is Here to Help!
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the agency of the Department of Labor (DOL) that protects workers from dangers on the job that can cause injuries or illnesses. OSHA is here to help you. Call us on our toll-free number: 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or TTY 1-877-889-5627 to get answers to your questions, or to ask OSHA to inspect your workplace if you think there is a serious hazard. You can also submit a question online. To file a confidential complaint about workplace hazards, visit our How to File a Complaint page for instructions.
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