FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2008-23
May 1, 2008

CONTACT:
Thomas Dinh
Dean Fryer
(415) 703-5055


Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Encourages Young Worker Safety Awareness

San Francisco—Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today issued a letter encouraging all young workers in California to learn the necessary safety precautions for their jobs and make them a habit to ensure a safe and valuable work experience.  

The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) also reminds employers and young workers ages 14-19 that May, as Safe Jobs for Youth Month, is a time to practice safety skills that will become standard throughout the careers of young workers.  

The annual observance of Safe Jobs for Youth Month gives state labor officials, educators and local leaders an opportunity to help protect young workers from on-the-job injuries.

“We want all young workers to have a healthy and a positive work experience,” said DIR Director John C. Duncan. “The skills they learn at work—even in their first job—will benefit them for a lifetime.”

California young workers under 19 held more than 629,000 jobs in 2007, and as the high school year is beginning to wind down, many teens are now looking for summer jobs. Young workers contribute greatly to California’s workforce and economy.

The DIR’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, also known as Cal/OSHA, investigated at least four serious injuries and over 3,000 workers’ compensation claims were filed by young California workers last year, according to the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Most of the workers’ compensation injuries involved cuts, strains, bruises, sprains, and burns.

In addition, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement that enforces child labor assessed over $400,000 in fines against businesses for violations of child labor laws in 2007. Nearly 90 percent of those fines were levied against employers who failed to have work permits for the minors they employed.

“Recognizing these dangers that teens face in the workplace, we are committed to providing education and other resources to ensure their safety,” added Duncan.

DIR also collaborates with the California Partnership for Young Workers' Health and Safety, representing 25 government and statewide organizations that are dedicated to on-the-job youth safety. Each year they offer educational programs on important health and safety measures designed to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses as well as help young people understand their employment rights on the job.

Events and outreach efforts will be held across the state to help young employees, managers, educators and parents learn about workplace health and safety.

To learn more about these activities, visit www.youngworkers.org or call the teen resource hotline at 1-888-933-TEEN.

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