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  • Teen Worker Safety

  • Teen Worker Safety

    Follow the law! Adolescent workers are protected by two laws enforced by the Department of Labor (DOL):

    The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH) Act. Each state also has child labor laws. Employers must comply with both federal and state laws. When federal and state standards are different, the rules that provide the most protection to youth workers will apply.
    The OSH Act requires that employers provide a safe and healthful work environment and comply with occupational safety and health standards. This includes following OSHA Standards such as:
    • Employers must assess the hazards in their workplace, select the appropriate (PPE) personal protective equipment for their employees, (such as gloves, aprons, and foot protection) and have their employees use the PPE [1910.132(a)] and [1910.132(d)].

    • Employers must make any employees exposed to hazardous materials aware of the hazards and train them to protect themselves from these hazards [1910.1200 Hazard Communication Standard].

    • Employers must display a poster prepared by the DOL or your state labor department informing employees of the protections of the Occupational Safety and Health Act P.L. 91-596, December 29, 1970 and its amendments.
    Consider implementing the following:
    • A review of the worksite to eliminate identified hazards and ensure jobs are as safe as possible.

    • Provide training to ensure that adolescents recognize hazards and are competent in safe work practices. Training should include how to prepare for fires, accidents, violent situations, and what to do if they get injured. Teens need to know that if they get injured, they have the right to file a claim to cover their medical benefits and some of their lost work time.

    • Provide appropriate supervisors for teens that recognize hazards and are competent in safe work practices.

    • Routinely verify through supervision that teens continue to recognize hazards and use safe work practices.

    • Stress safety, particularly among first-line supervisors; they have the greatest opportunity to influence teens and their work habits.

    • Implement a mentoring or buddy system for new youth workers. Have either an adult or experienced teen be a buddy to answer questions to help the inexperienced worker learn the ropes of a new job.

    • Encourage teens to ask questions about tasks or procedures that are unclear or not understood.

    • Remember that teens are not just "little adults." Employers must be mindful of the unique aspects of communicating with teens.

    • Ensure that equipment operated by teens is both legal and safe for them to use. Employers should label equipment young workers are not allowed to operate. The YouthRules! website has available downloadable stickers for employers to place on hazardous equipment to alert all workers that no one under 18 years of age may operate the equipment. There is also a sticker designed specifically for forklifts developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

    • Develop a safety and health program in your facility to help prevent workplace injuries.
    • A strong safety and health program involves all workers, supervisors, management, experienced workers, and teen workers.

    • Many safety and health problems and injuries can be prevented through simple workplace or work process redesign.

    • For help in establishing or improving your safety and health program, see the OSHA Consultation Program Directory.

    • Additional help for small businesses can be found at OSHA's Small Business Outreach Training Program Safety and Health Topics Page, including a Self-Inspection Checklist.
    DOL Youth Worker FLSA Information: Child Labor Fact Sheets
    • Fact Sheet #2 Restaurants and Fast Food Establishments under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

    • Fact Sheet #32 Youth Minimum Wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    • Fact Sheet #34 Important Changes in the Child Labor Laws Affecting the Driving of Automobiles and Trucks Under Hazardous Occupations Order No. 2.

    • Fact Sheet #37 Application of the Federal Child Labor Provisions to Amusement Parks and Recreation Establishments.

    • Fact Sheet #38 Application of the Federal Child Labor Provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to Grocery Stores.

    • Fact Sheet #40 Federal Child Labor Laws in Farm Jobs. [Spanish]

    • Fact Sheet #41 Fast Food, Full Service Restaurant, and Supermarket Industries Child Labor Compliance Survey.

    • Fact Sheet #43 Child Labor Provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for Nonagricultural Occupations. [Spanish]
    DOL Guides: Example Child Labor Violations and Penalties:

    This information came from an
    OSHA online article.

    *** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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