Advice for Teens in Working Safely

Do I have risk of getting hurt at work?

Yes, you can have it. Each year, about 70 teens in the United States die from injuries at work. Besides these, 70,000 teens are injured on the job and have to go to the hospital or emergency department. Often, teens are injured at work due to unsafe equipment, because they were working too fast or under stress, or because they had no safety training or supervision.

What things should I watch out for?

This depends on the type of work you do. Below are listed some examples of danger according to the type of work.

  • Food Services
  • Slippery floors
  • Pots, stoves and grills
  • Sharp objects
  • Cleaning
  • Toxic chemicals in cleaning supplies
  • Blood on discarded needles
  • Human waste
  • Office / clerical
  • Poor design of computer workstations that can cause repetitive motion injuries
  • Retail Sales
  • Heavy lifting
  • Violent crimes such as robberies

Are there certain types of work that I'm not allowed to do?

Yes, depending on your age. Certain jobs are considered too dangerous for you according to federal labor laws of the United States. These laws do not apply to children working on family farms.

If you are under 18, you are not allowed to:

  • Drive a motor vehicle as a regular part of your job or operate a forklift at any time.
  • Operate many types of electrical equipment such as a box crusher, meat slicer or circular saw.
  • Work in wrecking, demolition, excavation or roofing
  • Work in mining, logging or a sawmill
  • Work in meat-packing or slaughtering
  • Work where there is exposure to radiation
  • Work where explosives are manufactured or stored

Also, if you're 14 or 15, you can not perform the following activities:

  • Bake or cook on the job except in a serving counter.
  • Operate electrical machinery, with the exception of certain types that pose little hazard, such as those used in offices.
  • Work on a ladder or scaffold
  • Work in warehouses
  • Work in construction, building or manufacturing
  • Load or unload a truck, railroad car or conveyor belt.


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