Employers should take the following steps to protect young workers:
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.
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 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 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.
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.
Kidding Around? Be Serious! A Commitment to Safe Service Opportunities for Young People
Risk Management News, Vol. 1, 2004, Published by Markel Insurance Co.