OSHA younger worker guidelines

OSHA recommends you consider implementing the following strategies to help improve the health and safety of your younger workers:

  • A review of the worksite to eliminate identified hazards and ensure jobs are as safe as possible.
  • Provide training to ensure that adolescents recognize hazards and are competent in safe work practices. Training should include how to prepare for fires, accidents, violent situations, and what to do if they get injured. Teens need to know that if they get injured, they have the right to file a claim to cover their medical benefits and some of their lost work time.
  • Provide appropriate supervisors for teens who recognize hazards and are competent in safe work practices.
  • Routinely verify through supervision that teens continue to recognize hazards and use safe work practices.
  • Stress safety, particularly among first-line supervisors; they have the greatest opportunity to influence teens and their work habits.
  • Implement a mentoring or buddy system for new youth workers. Have either an adult or experienced teen be a buddy to answer questions to help the inexperienced worker learn the ropes of a new job.
  • Encourage teens to ask questions about tasks or procedures that are unclear or not understood.
  • Remember that teens are not just little adults. Employers must be mindful of the unique aspects of communicating with teens.
  • Ensure that equipment operated by teens is both legal and safe for them to use.
  • Develop a safety and health program in your facility to help prevent workplace injuries. OSHA offers the following links:
    • Safety and Health Programs Safety and Health Topic Page;
    • Safety and Health Management System eTool;
    • OSHA’s $afety Pays software can assist you in understanding how injuries are adversely impacting your profits.
  • A strong safety and health program involves all workers, supervisors, management, experienced workers, and teen workers.
  • Many safety and health problems and injuries can be prevented through simple workplace or work process redesign.
  • For help in establishing or improving your safety and health program, see the OSHA Consultation Program Directory.
  • Additional help for small businesses can be found at OSHA’s Small Business Outreach Training Program Safety and Health Topics Page, including a Self-Inspection Checklist.