By  A. Scott HeckerAdam R. Young, and Craig B. Simonsen

Seyfarth Synopsis: This week, OSHA is promoting safe workplaces for young adults and working teenagers.

According to OSHA, employers must follow all OSHA safety and health standards to prevent their employees from being injured or becoming ill on the job. Workers under age 18 may be limited in the hours they can work, the jobs they can do, and the equipment they can use. At the federal level, OSHA’s sister agency, the Wage and Hour Division, enforces such requirements, and OSHA refers stakeholders to federal and state wage and hour child labor law resources that should help them understand what rules apply.

OSHA advises young employees about their rights, their employer’s responsibilities, and ways to stay safe on the job.  For instance, employees, including young workers, have the right to:

  • Work in a safe place.
  • Receive safety and health training in a language that they understand.
  • Ask questions if they don’t understand instructions or if something seems unsafe.
  • Use and be trained on required safety gear, such as hard hats, goggles and ear plugs.
  • Exercise workplace safety rights without retaliation or discrimination

The employer is required to:

  • Provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and follow all OSHA safety and health standards.
  • Provide training about workplace hazards and required safety gear.*
  • Tell them where to get answers to their safety or health questions.
  • Tell them what to do if they get hurt on the job.

To help protect themselves they may:

  • Report unsafe conditions to a shift/team leader or supervisor.
  • Wear any safety gear required to do the job..
  • Follow the safety rules.
  • Ask questions.
  • Ask for help if needed.

For more information on this or any related topic please contact the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the Workplace Safety and Environmental Team.