Teenagers and Summer Job Safety

This summer, as every summer, brings a new work force, called “teenagers”!  Employers must provide training for their new employees, in order to make them aware of the hazards of their jobs.  Parents need to also be informed of exactly what their teenager will be expected to do, and what the employer is doing to ensure the utmost safety.

For many young workers, their first job may be working in a restaurant or fast food establishment.  Almost 30% of the 11.6 million people in the United States that work in restaurants are under the age of 20.


  • Employees younger than 16 are not allowed to cook, with the exception of lunch counters, snack bars, soda fountains, or serving counters at cafeterias.  This is according to the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • State Child Labor Laws may even be more stringent.
  • Teens need to ask questions of their employer in order to fulfill the demands of the job.  These type jobs provide an excellent learning experience for youngsters.
  • Hazards include slips, falls, cuts, spills, etc.
  • Teens need to have protective clothing and equipment furnished by their employer.  These may include hairnets, disposable gloves, hot pad gloves, back supports for those who lift heavy supplies.

OSHA, which enforces work place safety, says that workers age 16-17, are allowed to work in construction only in limited capacities.

Restrictions include:

  • Operating Equipment:  The law is that no one under age 18 may operate equipment, i.e. forklifts, and other heavy equipment used in construction.
  • Hardhats, safety glasses, gloves, hearing protection, and easily visible clothing should be furnished.
  • Workers under the age of 16 cannot work on ladders or scaffolds.

If your teenager chooses to work in landscaping, farming, or parks and recreation, theses are also considerations:

  • Exposure to sun will require protective safety glasses, which provide 99% security from the sun’s harmful rays.
  • Knowledge of handling of chemicals, (whether pool treatment chemicals, farm or other hazardous substances.
  • Items to help relieve heat stress.  (Bandannas or other cooling products can help cool the body’s heat by about 10 degrees!)

These are just a few of many types of jobs teens will want to try this summer.  Just remember, parents and teens have the right to know what to expect and how they will be protected on the job!

Our source for this information: OSHA Teen Summer Job Safety