This time of year, many Oregon teens are reaching an important milestone: their first job. But as they take on more independence and responsibility, they should feel empowered to speak up for their own safety.
“Getting a first job can feel very grown-up, and teens want to show that they’re professional and up for the task at hand,” said Courtnay Slabaugh, training supervisor at SAIF. “But an important part of work is feeling safe and making good decisions — it’s critical parents have that conversation with their kids.”
In Oregon, workers between the ages of 15 and 25 have higher rates of workplace injuries than their older counterparts–and most injuries occur within the first 12 months of employment.
Slabaugh recommends three things for parents to discuss with their teens about work:
Keep an eye out for hazards. It’s easy to assume the workspace has been cleared of hazards, but something could have been missed. Keep a look out for hazardous conditions or actions. Feel empowered to speak up. You can stop work and speak up if you are in a situation that feels unsafe. Request training or personal protective equipment to help you do your job more safely. Know your rights. There are additional rules and regulations that apply to young workers–more information can be found on the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries website.
SAIF recently sponsored a video contest put on by the Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition (O[yes]). The winning entry, from Eden McCall of Sprague High School, focused on the importance of speaking up as young workers. View her video and videos from all the finalists.
More information can be found at saif.com/youngworkers.
SAIF is Oregon’s not-for-profit workers’ compensation insurance company. Since 1914, we’ve been taking care of injured workers, helping people get back to work, and striving to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work. For more information, visit the About SAIF page on saif.com.