IR #2006-19
Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Dean Fryer
Renée Bacchini

DIR collaborates on Safe Jobs for Youth Month in May

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.

Every summer 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.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), every two minutes a young worker is injured in the US, "it is likely that approximately 250,000 youth sustain work-related injuries and illnesses each year". That is roughly one injury every two minutes.

"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.

Young workers face potential hazards from:

There are child labor laws that protect teens from doing dangerous work and special hours they can work according to their age.

For example, in California, no worker under 18 may:
Drive a motor vehicle on public streets as part of the job

Also, no one 14 or 15 years old may:

Safe Jobs for Youth Month events:

The California Partnership for Young Worker Health and Safety brings together key representatives from government agencies and statewide organizations that are involved with California youth employment and education issues or that can otherwise play a role in educating and protecting young workers. Participants include the Department of Industrial Relations' and its Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation, the University of California at Berkeley's Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP), the University of California at Los Angeles' Labor Occupational Safety and Health (LOSH) Program, the California Center for Civic Participation and The California Wellness Foundation.


Editor's note: Interviews with young workers and young worker safety experts can be arranged.