Summer Job Safety for Young Workers

summer-jobAt this time each year, high school and college students everywhere are looking for summer jobs.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, during the summer of 2016, the youth labor force – 16-to 24-year-olds –grew by 2.6 million, or 12.4%, to a total of 23.1 million workers nationwide.

As an employer, these seasonal workers can be essential to your workforce, but it’s critical to take extra safety precautions for inexperienced workers and educate yourself about the legal restrictions in place for younger employees.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), every nine minutes, a teenager in the United States is injured on the job.  Further, workers under 25 years of age are twice as likely to end up in the emergency room as workers over 25.

Many workplace accidents occur because younger workers, particularly those hired for temporary employment, don’t have the necessary experience and training to anticipate potentially hazardous situations.

OSHA recommends that employers take the following steps to reduce and prevent workplace injuries among young workers:

  • Understand and comply with federal and state child labor laws that restrict both the type of work and hours worked by younger employees.
  • Provide adequate safety training for younger and less experienced workers, to prepare them for a variety of potentially dangerous situations.  Be sure to use language and vocabulary appropriate for a younger audience.
  • Encourage young workers to ask questions about procedures that aren’t understood, and assign a more experienced employee to mentor the young worker on the job.
  • Inspect all equipment operated by young workers, to ensure it is legal and safe for them to use. All equipment not suitable for young employees should be clearly identified and labeled.

To learn more about the child labor law restrictions specific to California that could impact your hiring practices and workforce, please click here.

For more useful safety information, or to find a CompWest agent near you, visit