Teen workers must have the right to:
- A safe and healthful workplace free of recognized hazards. Maryland Occupational Safety
and Health (MOSH) has primary responsibility for enforcing standards
through the OSH Act of 1970, to promote safety and health, including
the health and safety of young workers.
- Speak UP! If you notice a safety or health hazard at work, report it to your
supervisor. If they do not address your concerns, you may file a
complaint with MOSH. Please remember that it is ILLEGAL for your
employer to punish or fire you for reporting a workplace safety or health problem.
- Use required personal protective equipment, including safety clothing, hard hats, safety
eyewear, hearing protection, and get training on how to use them
properly from your supervisor. You must be trained in the use of
Work only the limited number of hours and at the types of work permitted by state and federal
laws. Federal child labor laws and state labor laws apply if you are
under 18 years of age.
Examples of Safe Work Practices for Youth
Different colored smocks are issued to employees under the age of 18 at a chain of
Pennsylvania convenience stores. That way, supervisors know who isn’t allowed to operate the electric meat slicer.
Teens are issued a laminated, pocket-sized "Minor Policy Card" on the
first day of work at a Pennsylvania supermarket. The card explains the
firm’s policy and requirements for complying with child labor laws.
An employer in the fast-food industry, with 8,000 young workers in 5 states, developed a
computerized tracking system to ensure that teens under 16 years of age
are not scheduled for too many hours during school weeks.
Teens are responsible to:
Follow your employer’s safety and health rules and wear all required protective equipment.
Follow safe work practices for your job, as directed by your employer. Working safely
may slow you down, but ignoring safe work procedures is a fast track to
injury. There are hazards in all workplaces, and recognizing and dealing
with them correctly may save your life or prevent a serious injury.
ASK QUESTIONS! Ask for workplace training if it is not offered. Ask how to deal
with irate customers or how to perform a new task or use a new machine.
Asking questions will help you stay safe.
Tell your supervisor, parent, or other adult if you feel threatened or endangered at
work. If your employer does not address your concerns, report any hazardous condition to OSHA.
BE AWARE of your environment at all times. Be careful. It’s easy to get careless after
your tasks have become predictable and routine. Remember, you are NOT indestructible.
Be involved in establishing or improving your worksite safety and health program.
Trust your instincts. If someone asks you to do something that you feel is unsafe or
makes you uncomfortable, check with your supervisor before doing the task.
Keeping yourself safe is your first responsibility.
Teen employers must:
- Understand and comply with child labor laws and occupational safety and health standards that apply
to their business. The Fair Labor Standards Act limits the hours minors
under the age of 16 can work and prohibits employing minors under the
age of 18 for certain hazardous occupations.
- Stress safety, particularly among first-line supervisors who have the greatest
opportunity to influence teens and their work habits. Make sure that
young workers are appropriately trained and supervised to prevent
injuries and hazardous exposures.
- Work with supervisors and experienced workers to develop an injury and illness prevention program
and to help identify and solve safety and health problems. Many injuries
can be prevented through simple work redesign.
- Train young workers to recognize hazards and use safe work practices. This is especially
important since teens may have little work experience, and new workers
are at a higher risk of injury.