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Job safety for teen workers

For many teens in Pennsylvania, summer means getting a job while school is out. Younger workers may be more likely to be injured on the job than adults, which is why some child labor specialists are stressing certain safety tips.

Teen workers are often eager to prove to their employers that they are capable, especially if it is a teen's first job. In addition, younger workers may not understand their legal rights as employees or be afraid to refuse any task that they are assigned. A Department of Labor and Industries specialist in child labor says that teens should know their rights and be encouraged to speak up or ask questions if they are concerned for their safety while on the job.

The law restricts work activities for workers who are below the age of 18, and employers must have a special work permit endorsement in order to legally be allowed to hire minors. Despite restrictions such as minors not being allowed to operate heavy machinery or moving equipment, the rate of work injuries for teens is higher than for adults. According to figures from 2015, most teen workplace injuries occurred at fast food restaurants. Safe Jobs for Youth Month is an annual campaign sponsored by L&I that encourages education and safety training for teens, parents and employers.

While the law restricts the activities that minor workers are allowed to perform, minors are covered under workers' compensation. If a teen worker has been injured while on the job, a lawyer may be able to provide advice on how to obtain compensation for damages.

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