Protecting employers, teens from danger in summer jobs

Thousands of Texas employers will soon be hiring teenagers for summer jobs that include driving vehicles, using power tools or doing similar work. And although many of those employers may not know it, they could be breaking the law. Some jobs are too dangerous for workers under the age of 18. They are therefore restricted or prohibited by state and federal law. To help employers and workers comply with the laws, the Texas Workforce Commission and U.S. Department of Labor are offering easy-to-read materials on child safety. The free materials, which will be offered year round, are part of the agencies’ joint Spring Into Safety campaign, which takes place this month. Some 67 young people aged 17 and under are killed on the job in the U.S. each year, according to DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, and more than 210,000 14-to 17-year olds are injured, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. In Texas, more than 450 employer violations were cited last year, according to TWC statistics. “It’s up to all of us’employers, parents and teens alike’to reduce these numbers,” said TWC Chair Diane Rath. “At TWC, we want to accomplish this by educating everyone involved.” Parents need to know which jobs are prohibited, too. “Check out where your teens work and what they’re being asked to do,” said Commissioner Representing Labor T.P. O’Mahoney. “Make sure they know which jobs are unlawful and that it’s ok to say no to dangerous work.” “We encourage teens to enter the workforce, where they gain values, knowledge and experience,” said Commissioner Representing Employers Ron Lehman. “But at the same time we want to ensure that employers understand the law and provide teens with a safe working environment.” -30-

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