FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 29, 2004
Carol Frischman, UCLA Labor
Occupational Safety and Health
(LOSH) Program (310) 794-5972
May is Safe Jobs for Youth Month
Young workers learn to prevent job injuries and understand their rights by
attending job safety workshops
San Francisco - The annual observance of Safe Jobs for Youth Month in May gives state labor officials, educators and local leaders an opportunity to help protect young workers from on the job injuries by offering interactive workshops, job safety resources and a Lewis Hine child labor photograph exhibit.
Thousands of California's young workers aged 14 to 18 begin summer jobs in industries such as food service, construction, agriculture, customer service and retail. These jobs allow youth to earn money and create positive work experiences. They can also involve injury, disability or exploitation if young workers are not informed of potential hazards and their rights.
"I was an assistant at an auto body repair shop when I was in the 10th grade," says Juan Garcia. "I was exposed to hazardous chemicals without protection and was earning about $100 for working over 40 hours per week."
Garcia, now a youth coordinator and graduate student, heard about UCLA's Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH) and decided to attend.
"That's where I found out about training for employees, minimum wage and workers' compensation," says Garcia.
This May, UCLA-LOSH is partnering with local community groups to provide classes for high school students that will teach them how to avoid hazardous working conditions and understand their rights.
"California's labor, safety and health laws protect young workers," says John Rea, acting director of the California Department of Industrial Relations. "Educating teens is vital for their well-being and represents an important investment in California's economic future," Rea added.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates every year 230,000 young workers are injured on the job, with 77,000 injured seriously enough to go to the emergency room. Many young workers don't question their employer's business practices for fear of losing their jobs.
"Young workers need to know health and safety training on the job is their right," says Carol Frischman of UCLA's LOSH. "And we can help young workers lay the foundation for a lifetime of job safety built on solid principles."
Young workers face potential hazards from:
- Powered equipment such as box crushers, bakery machines and forklifts
- Late hours, which increase risks and vulnerability to crime
- Long hours, which create potential hazards when working alone and experiencing frequent contact with the public
- Unsafe or broken equipment
- Cooking with hot oil and on hot cooking surfaces.
- Exhibit of Lewis Hine child labor photos at the Los Angeles City Hall Land Bridge, May 17-June 25, 2004. Opening reception May 17, 2004, 10 a.m. - noon
- Special tours of the Hine photos and workshops for teachers and students, May 18-20, 2004
- 2004 Safe Jobs for Youth Month resource kit available for free, to plan workshops or events in your community. Call 1-888-933-8336 or visit www.youngworkers.org
- Job safety and labor law fact sheets for teens working in a variety of industries on the Department of Industrial Relations' Web site at www.dir.ca.gov.
Safe Jobs for Youth Month is a collaborative effort by the California Partnership on Young Workers' Health and Safety, a statewide task force that brings together key representatives from government agencies and statewide organizations involved with California youth employment and education issues.
Editors note: Interviews with young workers can be arranged.