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OSHA offers safety advice for protecting young workers

Many employers across the country as well as in Denver employ young people at their businesses. From fast food restaurants to coffee shops and grocery stores, managers and owners alike find that young people are eager to accept their first position in the work force and are oftentimes very reliable workers.

Given the fact that this is a first employment experience for many young people, it's important to remember that there are additional safety concerns to consider. The Administration offers employers advice and recommendations for safety measures to implement when young adults between the ages of 16 and 26 are working on the premises. 

OSHA tips for protecting young workers 

  • Employers need to research local, state and federal laws regarding the employment of young workers. For example, in Colorado, there are two tiers to consider for youth employment. Workers between the ages of 14 and 15 face a stricter set of employment restrictions than those who are the ages of 16 and 17.
  • Employers should be proactive about the safety of its workers, and create programs that protect employees of all ages. These programs should be designed to ensure that the entire workplace is safe for everyone who is employed.
  • Supervisors should participate in regular training seminars that address safety measures and protocols. Part of the responsibility of supervisors at a workplace that employs young people should be to monitor and implement all safety measures. Employees also should feel comfortable coming to a supervisor with any concerns about their health or safety. In order to stay informed of the latest safety measures that can be employed in the work place, employers should invest in training opportunities for supervisors.
  • Young people should undergo an initial training program that reviews the safety rules and regulations at the place of employment. After a young person has been hired, they should be required to undergo a training program prior to starting their first shift. The training program should outline their role and responsibility within the work place, but also identify risks and hazards that might be present while they work. In addition to providing them with information about potential occupational safety hazards, employers also should provide young people with safety training that will help keep them safe and healthy throughout the entire duration of their shift.
  • Create a welcome program for new workers and young employees. Beyond training employees to fulfill their job responsibilities and stay safe in the work place, employers also should design a welcome program for new employees and young workers. These welcome programs allow new employees to connect with one another and their new co-workers. One program that is recommended by OSHA is the buddy system, which pairs a new employee with an experienced employee. Young employees may face risks and dangers at the workplace, and it's important for them to recognize those risks while they work each day. If a young person feels that their employer is putting them at an increased and unnecessary risk, or not providing them with the proper safety precautions, they should address their concerns with an immediate supervisor, manager or business owner.

In the event that a young person is injured on the job, they may be qualified for worker's compensation. Filing for worker's compensation, particularly for young employees, can be a cumbersome process. For assistance with filing your worker's compensation claim in Colorado, you will want to contact a qualified attorney who specializes in worker's compensation laws.

For more information on youth employment in Colorado and to learn more about worker's compensation for young employees, contact our Denver law firm today.

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