IR #2001-04
Tuesday, May 1, 2001

Dean Fryer
(415) 703-5050

Governor Davis Proclaims May "Safe Jobs for Youth Month" Job safety awareness can prevent injuries among youth in summer jobs

SAN FRANCISCO-- In an effort to help educate employers, parents and young workers in California about preventing workplace injuries, Governor Gray Davis has proclaimed May "Safe Jobs for Youth Month."

State and federal agencies are working together in this public information campaign to increase the awareness of child labor laws and health and safety issues. Information is available for young workers, parents and employers to help youth stay safe on the job.

Thousands of young workers 14-18 years old begin new jobs this summer in California. Many industries will employ youth in food service, as courtesy clerks in grocery stores, on construction sites and as cashiers in customer service and retail. These jobs allow California youth to earn money and create positive work experiences. Unfortunately, these jobs can also involve injury and disability if young workers are not informed of the hazards.


Young workers face risks from:

  • Late hours-increasing the risks and vulnerability to crime
  • Long hours-potential hazards when working alone and when experiencing frequent contact with the public
  • Unsafe or broken equipment
  • Hot oil and cooking surfaces
  • Powered equipment such as box crushers, bakery machines, forklifts

"Jobs can be a great way to gain valuable experience and income. But they need to be safe jobs," said Diane Bush of UC Berkeley's Labor Occupational Health Program, a coordinator of Safe Jobs for Youth Month. "California has labor laws that protect young workers. We want employers, parents and young workers to know what the laws are. Young workers should not be getting hurt on their first job. This is a chance to help them develop safety skills that will last them a lifetime," Bush added.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, every year in the U.S. an estimated 200,000 young workers are injured on the job. An estimated 70,000 are injured seriously enough to go to the emergency room. Studies suggest that youth job injury rates are higher than those of adults, despite the fact that youths are prohibited from working in the most hazardous occupations.

"Our young workers should be entering the workforce knowing that they'll get health and safety training, and ask for it if they don't," says Bush. "They should be learning to take responsibility for problems they see and know it's okay to tell their boss."

The Web site,, includes tips for young workers, parents, employers and educators on keeping youth safe at work. This is a collaborative effort by the Department of Industrial Relations, the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation, and the California Resource Network for Young Workers' Health and Safety, coordinated by UC Berkeley's Labor Occupational Health Program.


Public information activities during "Safe Jobs for Youth Month" 2001:

Governor Davis issued his third annual proclamation declaring May 2001 as "Safe Jobs for Youth Month."

UC Berkeley's Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) coordinated a teen poster contest among the 900 California high schools. The winning poster is distributed to all of the state's public high schools to help promote teen awareness of safety on the job and publicize the Web site

The California Department of Education distributed over 2,000 "Safe Jobs for Youth" resource kits developed by LOHP. These kits were sent to every California public high school, targeting social studies teachers, school-to-career or work-experience educators, regional occupational centers, and other organizations involved in training and placing young workers in the workforce. The kits include a copy of the winning teen poster, factsheets, and sample curriculum and sample media materials for local distribution.

Cal/OSHA inspectors will continue to distribute the "Facts for Employers: Safer Jobs for Teens" factsheet.

The California PTA distributed Safe Jobs for Youth materials at their state convention in April 2001.

The California Department of Industrial Relations created 525,000 job specific bookmarks on young worker health and safety for seven different industries. The bookmarks are being distributed throughout the month of May to high schools, state divisions such as Cal/OSHA, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and human resource departments through the Chamber of Commerce