Work provides many important benefits to teens and young adults and is an essential step on the path to independence. But hazardous working conditions can also pose safety and health risks.
Nationwide, young workers under age 25 are about twice as likely to get hurt on the job as older workers. An estimated 795,000 U.S. young workers are treated in emergency departments each year for these injuries. Right here in Massachusetts, an average of 21 young workers visits an emergency department every day.
Work-related injuries not only cause unnecessary suffering and health care costs, but can interfere with everyday participation in school, sports and social activities, and can even limit career options and sidetrack personal dreams for the future.
Yet, work-related injuries are preventable.
Getting hurt is not in your job description, is a campaign by DPH and seven other government agencies, collectively known as the Massachusetts YES Team. It encourages young workers to know about their rights on the job as one part of preventing work-related injuries. While knowledge of their rights and responsibilities is important, the ultimate responsibility to protect young workers is on employers to provide workplaces free of known hazards, safety and health training, and adequate supervision. Many other adults involved in youth employment and youth healthy development also play a critical role, including educators, job placement specialists, and parents.
The Getting hurt is not in your job description campaign is just one piece of a larger YES Team effort to make safety and health training a routine part of educational frameworks and other programs designed to equip young workers with the skills they need to become members of a productive and sustainable future workforce.
To learn more about how to prevent work injuries among young workers, visit the YES Team website or view our many Educational Materials in multiple languages. Several resources are highlighted below.
- Massachusetts YES Team Website
- Employer Tips: Keeping Young Workers Safe on the Job
- Youth @ Work: Talking Safety Curriculum
- The Massachusetts Guide for Working Teens
This information is provided by the Department of Public Health.