Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Safely: Advice For Teens
Am I at risk of getting hurt at
Yes, you may be. Every year
about 70 teens in the United States die as a result of injuries at work. Another
70,000 teens are hurt on the job and have to go to a hospital or emergency
department. Teens are often injured on the job because of unsafe equipment,
because they were working too fast or working under stress, or because they
didn't have proper safety training or supervision.
What Hazards Should I Watch Out
- Type of work Examples of
- Food service
- Slippery floors
- Hot pans, stoves and grills
- Sharp objects
- Toxic chemicals in cleaning supplies
- Blood on discarded needles
- Human waste
- Poor computer work-station design (causes
repetitive movement problems)
- Heavy lifting
- Violent crimes (such as
there certain jobs I'm not allowed to do?
Yes. Depending on your age,
certain jobs are considered too dangerous for you according to federal labor
laws. (These laws don't apply to children working on family farms.)
If you're younger than age 18 you are
not allowed to do the following activities:
- Drive a motor vehicle as a regular part of the
job or operate a forklift at any time
- Operate many types of powered equipment, such as
a box crusher, meat slicer or circular saw
- Work in wrecking, demolition, excavation or
- 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 age 14 or
15 you may not do the following activities:
- Bake or cook on the job (except at a serving
- Operate power-driven machinery (except 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
If you're under age
14, there are even stricter laws to protect your health and safety.
Are there limits to when and how
much I can work?
labor laws protect 14- and 15-year-olds from working too often, too late or too
early. Some states have laws that apply to older teens as well.
14- and 15-Year-Olds Can Work These
Work hours From 7 a.m. to 7. p.m.
between Labor Day and June 1
school hours from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor
Maximum work hours when school is in
18 hours a week but not more than:
3 hours a day on school days
8 hours a day on Sat, Sun and
Maximum work hours when school is
not in session
40 hours a week, 8 hours a day
are my rights?
By law, your
employer must provide a safe and healthful workplace that is free of hazards.
Your employer should also provide safety and health training.
You have the right to refuse to work
if the job is immediately dangerous to your life or health. If you feel unsafe
or that your rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with the U.S.
Department of Labor. Remember, it's illegal for your employer to fire you or
punish you for reporting a workplace hazard.
What are my safety responsibilities
on the job?
To work safely
you should keep in mind the following:
- Follow all safety rules.
- Use safety equipment and wear protective clothing
- Keep work areas clean and neat.
- Know what to do in an emergency.
- Report any health and safety hazards to your