Safety tips for young workers
Summer work for teens and high school graduates should be a time of new experiences, hard work, and learning new skills. Unfortunately, some teens will suffer on-the-job injuries. Every six minutes, a teenager in America suffers a serious enough injury on the job to require treatment in a hospital emergency room.
Last year, 129 Oregon workers under 18 suffered serious work-related injuries and became eligible for workers' compensation benefits. More than 1,800 more workers between 18 and 22 suffered serious workers' compensation-eligible injuries. Falls and equipment mishaps are the two most common injury causes for younger workers.
The Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) reminds younger workers and their employers that they can prevent injuries at work by understanding and complying with state and federal standards for workplace safety.
Most important, report any unsafe condition or equipment problems promptly to your supervisor. If you have any doubt about the safety of the materials you are handling, or if you have questions about your work duties, you have the responsibility to bring your concerns to your supervisor's attention.
Here are some other ways to prevent injuries.
Be ready for accidents and emergencies
Prevent cuts and lacerations
Protect yourself and your senses
Work should affect your clothing choices
Prevent slips, trips, and falls
If your work involves operating a machine
For work that requires manual lifting, be sure to use proper lift techniques
Keep safe and prevent exposure to workplace violence
Oregon OSHA has developed a guide to help younger workers develop safe work habits and understand their workplace safety and health rights. Oregon OSHA's "Young Workers Brochure" is available on the Oregon OSHA Web site, www.orosha.org.
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 at (800) 922-2689 or www.orosha.org. For questions about wage and hour requirements or restricted activities, contact the Bureau of Labor and Industries at (971) 673-0761 or www.oregon.gov/BOLI/.
Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer & Business Services, enforces the state's workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit www.oregon.gov/DCBS/.