FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2008-43
June 26, 2008

CONTACT:
Thomas Dinh
Dean Fryer
(415) 703-5050
Internet: www.dir.ca.gov


DIR Focuses on Workplace Safety for California Young Workers

San Francisco—With school out and thousands of young people working summer jobs, the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) reminds all California employers and  workers under age 18 to use safe and healthy practices in the workplace.

Last year, California young workers ages16-19 contributed to California’s workforce by holding close to 629,000 jobs. 

DIR’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) maintains and enforces safety and health standards in the workplace and performs outreach events for both employers and employees. They also provide safety publication material for workers, employees, parents, and other organizations.

According to Cal/OSHA, four young workers under the age of 17 were seriously injured in the workplace in 2007. One teen was electrocuted while laying irrigation pipes and required hospitalization; another severed a finger using a dough mixer; the third teen was struck by a  piece of wire while mowing grass, and the fourth teen lost three fingertips working at an  engineering services company.

“Education is the key to starting young workers on the right track for a lifetime of positive work experiences,” said DIR Director Duncan. “We want California’s young workers to understand their rights and go home safely from work each night.”

DIR, with the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation, this year co-hosted two Young Worker Leadership Academy three-day workshops and other outreach efforts to educate young workers about workplace safety.

As workers, teens are entitled under state laws to have a safe and healthful workplace and businesses are required to have an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), especially when they employ teens. The program is a way of protecting workers from being injured on the job.

The IIPP is a written plan detailing the important steps that an employer must take to create a safe working environment. The IIPP also requires training specific to each job site that prepares employees to be safe in that work environment.

Young workers are encouraged to report workplace hazards to Cal/OSHA and can refuse any work if it poses an immediate danger. California law also prevents employees from retaliation if they report an unsafe working condition.

DIR was established to improve working conditions for California's wage earners, and to advance opportunities for profitable employment in California.

For more information, visit the DIR Web site at www.dir.ca.gov/dosh or call the toll-free Worker Information Hotline at (866) 924-9757.

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