Teenage workers – those between the ages of 15 and 19 – suffer twice as many on-the job injuries that require emergency room care than their older colleagues. With the school year winding down, more young people will soon trade the classroom for the workplace.

To ensure the safety of young workers at the workplace, the Young Workers Project has developed a number of tools, including the Five Steps To Safer Teen Jobs.

What are the five steps?

These steps help you get ready to welcome your new employees and provide proper training.

  1. Know and comply with the law. There may be laws that mandate different requirements or limitations for young workers. Prohibited activities could include operating heavy machinery and using power tools. Learn the laws that apply to your business.
  2. Work permits. Before hiring a worker under the age of 18, ensure they have a work permit. California requires work permits for those under 18 unless they’ve graduated high school or passed the high school equivalency exam. Teens requiring a work permit may apply for them at their school or school district office.
  3. Stress safety to supervisors. Encourage your supervisory staff to lead by example, as this could affect young workers’ actions. Make sure supervisors know the law and follow it when handing out work assignments.
  4. Set up a safety and health program. Remember that all workplaces in California must have an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). All workers—including teens— should be included in the program.
  5. Train teens to put safety first. Provide training on safe equipment use and what to do in emergency situations. Encourage young workers to ask questions and to speak up about safety issues they encounter at the workplace.

A summer of safety

As you welcome younger workers to your staff this summer, you can help them become a productive member of your workforce and avoid becoming an injury statistic. These five steps can help you prepare teen workers for a safe summer at work.