Teens and Job Safety

Is your teen risking life and limb at his part time or summer job? What your teen needs to know when she heads into the work force. 

While part-time or summer jobs can give teens a little extra cash and help them save for post-secondary education, it can also lead to work place injury. According to Bryan Lowes, Executive Director of the BC Safety Council, youth are very much at risk of being injured on the job. “The biggest problem with young workers is attitude,” explains Lowes. “Ironically they have a great attitude. They are so happy to have a job that they’ll do almost anything. Young workers need to know that they need to be safe, and that if they aren’t safe, then the whole point of the job is defeated. So safety has to come first.”

It’s common for teens to work in jobs that have inherent dangers. It may the boiling grease at the fast food restaurant or the dangers lurking at every construction site. Teens often lack good judgment because of their age and inexperience, and this can put them at higher risk. Combined with the fact that many teens are hesitant to ask for help, it’s not surprising then that injuries and even deaths occur due to job site accidents

Lowes says it’s vital that parents tell their teens that asking their employer how to do a job safely is okay. “Kids are very afraid to ask things. They think maybe the employer will get mad and think that they are delaying or are a wimp. But in actual fact most employers are really happy when any worker has a positive attitude towards safety because any kind of an incident or injury is very bad for work and productivity, not to mention the individual. It can be very expensive for everybody concerned,” explains Lowes.

He adds that teens have the right to be informed of any job hazards and they should insist on proper training. Lowes says teens need to be told to ask, “what are the risks associated with this activity and the hazards associated with this environment. Until that orientation takes place, no work should occur. They need to be proactive and ask.”

So when your teen takes on a part time or summer job, consider that part of your role as a parent is to encourage your teen to get informed about work place safety. And if you’re not happy with the precautions on a job site, get involved by contacting the employer. In the case of work place safety the old cliché “better safe than sorry” really does ring true.


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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