CA Young Worker Safety is Everyone's Responsibility


San Francisco, CA ( - California employers who hire young employees play an important role in preparing the next generation of workers. Summer employment and after school jobs teach young workers responsibility, give them a sense of the real world, provide them with extra spending money, and in some cases, supplements family income. Teenagers can be a valuable addition to the workforce. But as with any new employee, young workers must be properly trained to work safely. After all, few of the benefits of working are worth it if a teen is seriously injured on the job.

Every May is Safe Jobs for Youth Month in California to highlight the importance of preventing teen injuries on the job.

As a member of the California Partnership for Young Worker Health and Safety, State Fund is committed to preventing work-related injuries and illnesses among young workers, and reminds employers and young employees of their rights and responsibilities. 

Employer Responsibilities 

Employers play a key role in creating a safe work environment and preventing injuries to young workers. You should be aware of your responsibility to protect your young employees and understand the potential for tragedy for not following the law. You need to:

Know and comply with child labor laws that apply to your business. The law outlines restrictions regarding the type of job workers under the age of 18 can and cannot perform to protect their health and safety. It also sets the hours that youth may work, both during the school year and during summer. 

Provide a safe and healthy workplace. A safe workplace for young workers does not happen by accident. Check equipment young workers use to ensure it is legal and safe and provide warning signs on equipment not authorized for their use. 

Train young workers to recognize workplace situations that may pose health hazards, and stress putting safety first. 

Give detailed instructions on safe work practices and equipment operation, required personal protective wear, and emergency procedures. 

Provide adequate training and supervision. Make sure young workers follow proper procedures and perform their duties safely. 

Youth Responsibilities

Young workers have responsibilities too. They should:

Participate in training programs related to their jobs. 

Inform their supervisors when doing a task for the first time. 

Ask questions to clarify job information and procedures they do not fully understand. 

Be aware of their physical limitations. 

Report any hazards to their supervisors. 

Obtain a work permit issued from their school district if they are under the age of 18 (with few exceptions) 

Young workers also have the right to refuse to perform a job immediately dangerous to their life or health. Young workers should not get hurt on their first jobs. 

Employers have an opportunity to help teens develop safety skills that will last a lifetime. Most young workers are enthusiastic and eager to learn. We want to ensure that introductory workplace experiences will instill in young people an understanding and awareness of job safety and health that will carry throughout their careers and ultimately shape a safer California work environment. 

State Fund offers employers, teenage employees, and parents several young worker safety resources and links to help protect this fresh and vital resource.

Additional resources: Young Workers' Health and Safety Website, Young Worker Summer Job Safety 

Source: SCIF

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