Federal Agencies Unveil Effort to Help Teen Workers Remain Safe, Healthy on the Job this Winter

December 7, 2004

Millions of American teens are preparing to enter the workforce this winter doing a variety of jobs that will teach them valuable skills. While most will earn extra money and gain valuable work experience, many risk being seriously or even fatally injured on the job.

Eighty percent of U.S. teenagers work during their high school years. In 2002, a total of 38,600 teens were injured at work and 133 died as a result of an on-the-job injury.

To address this challenge, numerous federal agencies, collectively known as the Federal Network for Young Worker Safety and Health (FedNet), have joined together to educate teens, their parents, counselors and employers on how young people can stay safe on the job.

FedNet’s latest Web-based product, Winter Worker Land provides teen worker safety and health materials in English and Spanish. Topics covered include safe winter driving, snow removal, dressing for the cold weather and other winter safety tips, as well as tips on workplace violence prevention and safety topics related to working in restaurants.

“This new resource will help teenagers obtain additional information to help keep them safe on the job,” said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. “By providing practical information on a wide range of work activities, and getting teens to follow proper behaviors, we can help ensure that young people have safe and healthy work experiences.”

There are five basic things teens can do to help reduce the risk of injuries and illnesses:
* Talk to their employers;
* Stay alert, work safe and follow proper work practices;
* Know their workplace rights;
* Get safety and health training; and
* Find and follow practical safety tips like those found on FedNet’s Web site www.cdc.gov/niosh/fedNet/.

The 11 FedNet agencies committed to coordinating their efforts to help reduce work-related injuries and illnesses among teen-age workers include the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Education, Health & Human Services, Agriculture, Defense, Labor, Transportation, U.S. Postal Services, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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