Safety at Work: How You and Your School Can Support Young Worker Safety

Protecting young workers is a topic that can fall between the cracks. Educators focused on curriculum and students’ academic progress may forget safety issues in their school-to-work initiatives, and health professionals, including those located in schools, may assume that worker safety is part of the vocational education curriculum. With safety issues crossing school and employment boundaries, parents should not be shy about putting safety on the agenda for all school youth employment activities.

[Download free checklist — [PDF format]

Here are some questions for schools and parents that can help keep young workers safe:

  • Do teachers and other school staff who sign work permits for students know the relevant federal and state child labor laws? Click here for resources.
  • Has the school or school system centralized the work permit system — helping to assure that multiple work permits are not signed for individual students?
  • Who is in charge of safety in the school’s industrial arts or vocational classrooms? A specific staff member or members should be responsible for checking regularly on the safe storage and use of electrical wiring and outlets, chemicals, machinery, and any equipment with special safety requirements.
  • Does the school’s work-study or vocational training programs include worker safety in its curriculum?

Resources:

An excellent resource for teen workers, their parents, and teachers is found at: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/teenworkers/teenworkers.html

CDC Young Worker Safety and Health: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/youth/

California. UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program: http://www.youngworkers.org/