Teens and Summer Job Safety

Young adults are at risk for job-related injuries

(RxWiki News) A summer job is a rite of passage for many teens. However, that rite of passage could put teens and young adults at risk for job-related injuries.

Did you know that a teen between the ages of 15 and 19 is injured at work approximately every five minutes? In fact, teens experience about twice the rate of work injuries as adult workers older than 24.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015, 403 workers under the age of 24 died from work-related injuries in the United States.

The workplace presents a variety of hazards. It's important to remember that a workplace hazard is something that can harm you not only physically but psychologically.

Read on to find out what you need to know about keeping your teen safe on the job this summer.

Some examples of workplace hazards include the following:

  • Janitor: toxic chemicals in cleaning products
  • Food service worker: slippery floors, hot cooking equipment and sharp objects, such as knives or slicers
  • Retail worker: heavy lifting
  • Using machines: sharp blades and conveyor belts

Using unsafe equipment, being put under stressful conditions and being under pressure to work faster are common reasons why teens are injured on the job. Furthermore, teens may not receive the safety training and supervision they need. Limited prior work experience can also contribute to a higher injury rate.

As a parent, it's important to ask your teen questions about being safe at work. Ask your working teen the following:

  • Have you received any safety training?
  • Will you have a supervisor present at all times?
  • Do you know who to ask if you have any safety questions?
  • Do you work with hazardous chemicals or dangerous machinery?
  • Do you feel comfortable with the training you received?
  • Do you know what your duties and responsibilities are?
  • Do you know what to do if you get injured?
  • Do you know what to do if an emergency occurs at work?

To help prevent workplace injuries for teens, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is partnering with worker safety organizations on a social media campaign. The campaign will focus on the following: “You Have Rights;” “Every Job Has Hazards;” “Speak-Up; Injuries are Preventable;” and “You Can Get Help.” These can all be found at the #MySafeSummerJob website.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists several resources for you and your teen:

Ask your health care provider any questions you have about keeping your teen safe while on the job.

Written by Anyssa Garza PharmD, BCMAS