7 ways employers can help keep young workers safe: U.S. Department of Labor
It’s a fact: Workplace injuries and illnesses for teens have been on the rise since 2017. We also know that July is typically their peak employment month. So this summer, let’s all make sure they stay safe and healthy on the job.
Here are seven ways employers can create a safe workplace for young workers:
1. Verify ages of young employees
Keep employment or age certificates on file for all employed minors. Use our YouthRules website to determine the schedules and jobs permitted for each minor, according to age.
2. Ensure managers are trained on the child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act
Take advantage of the Wage and Hour Division’s free online resources. If you’d like free training from a specialist in your area, check out the division’s Community Outreach Staff Flyer to find the right person and make a request.
3. Tell minor employees what tasks they can’t perform and how long they can work each day
Although compliance is the employer’s responsibility, it’s important for young workers to know the rules that are in place to protect them. Our Young Worker Toolkit contains fact sheets that explain prohibited jobs and permitted schedules for minors in non-agricultural jobs and farm jobs.
4. Review time records for minors
If you employ any 14- or 15-year-olds, make sure you’re following the relevant limits on work hours. Keeping accurate records and reviewing them regularly can help you stay in compliance and keep your young workers safe.
5. Post warning labels on prohibited equipment
Our YouthRules website contains free stickers that employers can print or order online. Place these labels on equipment that minor employees are prohibited from using to help prevent avoidable injuries.
6. Train new workers on job hazards and safety precautions
Don’t assume your new workers – especially the youngest ones – are aware of safety measures they should take to avoid injuries on the job. Safety training can keep your employees productive while reducing the possibilities of child labor violations or injuries.
7. Encourage new workers to speak up about safety concerns
New employees, especially young ones, might feel reluctant to bring safety issues to an employer’s attention. Tell them that safety is a priority and let them know how to report their concerns.
Call the Wage and Hour Division at 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243) if you have questions about prohibited jobs and permitted schedules for minor employees. Help us spread the word on preventing child labor injuries by tweeting with hashtag #AskBeforeTheTask throughout July. By making young workers’ safety a top priority we can help reduce child labor injuries this summer and beyond.
Colin Trimble is an outreach innovation specialist at the U.S. Department of Labor.