Employers of Young Workers


Employers should take the following steps to protect young workers:

Recognize the hazards:

Reduce the potential for injury or illness in young workers by assessing and eliminating hazards in the workplace. Make sure equipment used by young workers is safe and legal. Visit www.dol.gov/dol/topic/youthlabor/hazardousjobs.htm or call 1–866–4–USADOL.

Supervise young workers:

Make sure that young workers are appropriately supervised. Make sure that supervisors and adult co-workers are aware of tasks young workers may or may not perform. Label equipment that young workers cannot use, or color-code uniforms of young workers so that others will know they cannot perform certain jobs.

Provide training:

Provide training to ensure that young workers recognize hazards and are competent in safe work practices. Have young workers demonstrate that they can perform assigned tasks safely and correctly. Ask young workers for feedback about the training.

Know and comply with the laws:

Know and comply with child labor laws and occupational safety and health regulations that apply to your organization. State laws may be more restrictive than federal laws, and they vary considerably from state to state. Post these regulations for workers to read. For information about federal child labor laws, visit www.dol.gov/dol/topic/youthlabor/index.htm or call 1–866–4–USADOL. For state laws, visit www.ilsa.net or www.youthrules.dol.gov/states.htm, or call 1–866–4–USWAGE. Information about OSHA regulations that apply to all workers is available at www.osha.gov.

Develop an injury and illness prevention program:

Involve supervisors and experienced workers in developing a comprehensive safety program that includes an injury and illness prevention program and a process for identifying and solving safety and health problems. OSHA consultation programs are available in every state to help employers identify hazards and improve their safety and health management programs. Visit www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult.html.


No Surprises: Harmonizing Risk and Reward in Volunteer Management — 3rd edition

Kidding Around? Be Serious! A Commitment to Safe Service Opportunities for Young People

Preventing Deaths and Injuries of Adolescent Workers, NIOSH

Preventing Deaths, Injuries and Illnesses of Young Workers, NIOSH

Risk Management News, Vol. 1, 2004, Published by Markel Insurance Co.

United States Postal Service

How to Lift and Carry Safely, National Safety Council

Falls From Tractors and Trailing Equipment, National Safety Council

Independent Sector

Youth Service America

Youth on Board