logo for Teen Work Safety 2014

Nowadays, it doesn’t take long to spot teens participating in the Massachusetts workforce. They serve us in restaurants and ring up our groceries. They provide dietary aid and care to residents in healthcare facilities. They do landscaping and construction work. Even in this tough economy, teens are earning money, learning new skills, and making valuable contributions wherever they’re employed.

But workplace hazards are everywhere — and as new workers, teens are less experienced and tend to be placed in less safe jobs. This puts them at high risk of being hurt at work.

Young workers nationwide have around twice the rate of work-related injury than adults age 25+. Yet, among interviewed Massachusetts teens who had been hurt on the job, more than half thought their injury could have been prevented. Nearly half also said they did not receive training from their employer on how to work safely and prevent injury.

The poster above, voted first place by youth across the state in the Massachusetts Safe Jobs for Youth Poster Contest, was designed by 16-year-old Liz Otero of Worcester. Sponsored by the Mass. YES Team and MassCOSH, the contest aims to raise awareness among teens, employers, educators, parents and others who play a role in creating safer jobs for youth. Ms. Otero’s message encourages everyone to speak up for teens, especially since newer, younger workers don’t always have a voice to do it for themselves.

View all of the poster finalists promoting workplace safety at www.mass.gov/dph/ohsp/teenpostercontest.

Whether you’re an employer or a parent, you can learn more about young worker safety with these educational materials:

This information is provided by the Department of Public Health.

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