Editor’s Note: A safe summer job
As an employee of the National Safety Council since I was 29, I’ve celebrated many a National Safety Month. But someone will always be hearing the message for the first time.
This year, it’ll be one of my nephews. I am Auntie Mel to six great boys, and one of them is now 16 and has landed his first summer job.
He’s a conscientious kid who follows the rules, so I have no doubt he’ll be a hard worker – and a smart one.
He’s also not a complainer. It’s extremely rare for him to stay home from school, for example, and when he’s clearly not feeling well, his answer to inquiries is invariably, “I’m OK.” This kind of mental toughness will serve him well throughout his life. Yet, I’m also concerned that it could leave him, as a teen entering the workforce, vulnerable to injury.
This month in Safety+Health, Associate Editor Barry Bottino writes about teen workers. One sentence in particular stands out to me: “Teens wanting to fit in and be seen as competent workers may avoid asking for directions and expressing concerns.”
As I said, my nephew follows the rules. But what if the rules needed to help him stay safe aren’t stressed by his supervisors – or, worse, aren’t in place?
In his article, Barry speaks with experts who offer insight into the way teens think, and what employers need to know to help them avoid injury. And for teens who don’t have an employer (or an aunt) who’s looking out for their safety, OSHA has a webpage (osha.gov/youngworkers) with resources for them and their parents. In addition, the agency is partnering with NIOSH, NSC and other groups on a social media campaign, #MySafeSummerJob. Happy National Safety Month.
One of the biggest hurdles for teen workers is speaking up about potential hazards. "They're trying to put their best foot forward and appear as adult and knowledgeable as possible," one expert says.