If your company is planning to hire young workers to fill summer job positions, make sure you’re aware of the latest changes to the laws protecting teen workers and be prepared to provide your young staff with safety training.
Every year in the U.S., nearly 70 teenagers under age 18 die from work-related injuries. Another 77,000 teen workers are hurt badly enough to end up in hospital emergency rooms.
Recent changes made to child labor violation penalties under the Fair Labor Standards Act gave even more attention to the issue of on-the-job safety for teens. Today, employers may be penalized up to $50,000 for the death or serious injury of a worker under the age of 18. In cases where the violation is repeated or willful, the penalty can reach up to $100,000.
Preparing early and having a comprehensive safety training program in place before hiring seasonal help can be your company’s best protection against employee injuries and federal penalties.
Keep workers of all ages safe and productive this summer by making workplace safety a priority.
Tips for Preparing Your Workplace for Teen Employees
- Develop a specialized training course for teens on how to recognize workplace dangers and perform their jobs safely
- Choose trusted, well-trained supervisors to monitor and educate young workers on the importance of safety in the workplace
- Supervise teens at all times to ensure they know how to follow safety measures and spot potential hazards
- Implement a shadowing program where young workers learn valuable safety skills from older, more experienced employees
- Have an open-door policy and encourage teen employees to ask questions about safety issues or policies that may seem unclear
- Educate young workers on their legal rights including how to file a workers’ compensation claim to cover medical benefits and lost work time