Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
Working Safely: Advice For Teens

Am I at risk of getting hurt at work?

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 For?

Are 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:

Also, if you're age 14 or 15 you may not do the following activities:

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?

Federal child 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 Hours
Work hours From 7 a.m. to 7. p.m. between Labor Day and June 1
Not during school hours from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day
Maximum work hours when school is in session
18 hours a week but not more than: 3 hours a day on school days
8 hours a day on Sat, Sun and holidays
Maximum work hours when school is not in session
40 hours a week, 8 hours a day

What 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:

Web Site:

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/homepage.html

U.S. Department of Labor: http://www.dol.gov