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Oregon OSHA - 350 Winter Street NE Room 430 - Salem, Oregon 97301-3882
For Immediate Release
June 28, 2005
Contact for more Information:
Kevin Weeks, Public Information Officer, 503-947-7428

Summer should include safety for young workers

The Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) wants to remind Oregon students working
during the summer to focus on working safely.

The top suggestion is to report any unsafe condition or equipment problems to your supervisor promptly. If there is any doubt in your mind about the safety of the materials you are handling or your work duties, you have the responsibility to bring your concerns to your supervisor's attention.

“The first years at work shape habits throughout the rest of an employee’s career,” says Peter De Luca, administrator of Oregon OSHA. “It’s vital that employers focus on training an employee correctly during their first days on the job. That training could, literally, save the employee’s life.“

Oregon injury statistics show that 10 percent of all serious workplace injuries occur during a worker’s first thirty days at work. A goal of the “Safe Jobs, Smart Business” educational campaign initiated by the Department of Consumer and Business Services is to provide employers with resources to assist training new workers through the Oregon OSHA Web site, www.orosha.org

An average of 170 workers under age 18 are seriously injured each year in Oregon, according to Workers’ Compensation Division data. Youth workplace injuries declined 40 percent between 1999-2003, to a low of 134 injury claims in 2003. Falls and being struck by equipment are the two most common injury causes for younger workers.

Younger workers in any occupation should follow these safety suggestions:

Be ready for accidents and emergencies:

  • Know where the first-aid kit is located in your work area.
  • You should not respond to an accident unless you are trained in first aid. If you are not trained to respond, know who is the designated emergency responder in your work area.
  • Be sure to report any injury to a supervisor immediately.
  • Know where the emergency exits are in your work area.

Prevent cuts and lacerations:

  • If you're handling a knife, always cut away from the body.
  • If you do receive a cut, get first aid. All surfaces where blood may have spilled should be properly cleaned to protect you and others from bloodborne diseases.

Protect yourself, and your senses:

  • Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes against liquid splashes or flying debris. If using chemicals, make sure you have been trained about chemicals that you are using and their hazards.
  • Wear hearing protection when exposed to loud noises.

Work should reflect your clothing choices:

  • Clothing should be appropriate to the job and work environment.
  • Wear enclosed shoes. Protect your feet from falling objects, lawn mower blades, hot grease, chemical spills, and other hazards. For jobs where heavy loads could fall, wear shoes with metal-reinforced toe guards.
  • Don't wear loose clothing or dangling jewelry that can be caught in moving or rotating parts. Keep long hair restrained.

Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls:

  • Floors should be kept clean and free of spills, oils, and debris.
  • Electrical cords and other objects should not be allowed to extend across a walkway.
  • While mopping, make sure signs warn others of the danger of wet surfaces.
  • If you have to use a ladder, make sure it is secure. Never step on the top platform of any ladder, including a stepladder.

If your work involves machine operations:

  • Equipment or tools should not be used without proper guards.
  • Never reach inside moving machinery.
  • Do not wear gloves or loose clothing while using machines with high-speed moving parts, like drill presses.
  • Never use electrical equipment when standing in water.

For work that requires manual lifting, be sure to use proper lift techniques:

  • Get closer to the load. Grab the load safely, with your hands under or low on the object.
  • Bend your knees, with feet slightly spread for balance and stability.
  • Keep your head, shoulders, and hips in a straight line as you lift. Do not twist. Turn your entire body, including your feet.
  • Know how much weight you can safely lift. Get help lifting if necessary.

Keep safe and prevent exposure to violence where you work:

  • If you're working late, keep doors locked and avoid working alone.
  • If there is a robbery attempt, do not argue or struggle with the perpetrators.
  • Ask for an escort to your car if it's dark out. Park your vehicle in a well-lighted area.

Employers are required by law to provide a safe workplace and follow rules about compensation, meal and rest breaks, and work that is restricted for an employee under age 18. Contact Oregon OSHA about workplace safety and health concerns, and for questions about wage & hour requirements or restricted activities contact the Bureau of Labor and Industries.

Oregon OSHA, (800) 922-2689 or www.orosha.org

Bureau of Labor and Industries, (503) 731-4200 or www.oregon.gov/BOLI