Roughly 5.5 million teens will work this summer. But, what is a good age to let your teen work?
Teens between the ages of 15 -17 are in a high-risk bracket for injuries. Over 1/3 of teen workers are in situations they have little or no experience. This age, where being “invincible” is a common thought process, teens have very little knowledge or appreciation of the injury risks involved in a summer position.
The working teen’s biggest problem is that they will do almost anything. Most lack good judgment because they are not aware of all the risks, and they usually hesitate to ask for assistance.
Some employers, knowing the teen is temporary help, may skimp on the safety training involved, and provide little-to-no supervision on the job.
Most frequent injuries sustained in this age bracket are to the hand and fingers, with injuries ranging from bruises and sprains/strains to punctures or even amputations.
Most injuries are related to service or retail – fast food positions causing the most injuries. In fact, over 70 deaths occur each year to teens in retail, the majority being relayed to robberies.
TOP TWELVE DANGERS TO TEENS ON THE JOB
7. Extreme temperatures
9. Back/neck stress
11. Repetitive strain injuries
THE FIVE WORST SUMMER JOBS FOR TEENS
1.Agricultural. Dangers include machinery, confining spaces, elevations, livestock and processing of foodstuff such as poultry or seafood. Agricultural work accounts for roughly 42% of work-related fatalities.
2.Late Night Retail – especially when alone. This position rates number 2 in the fatalities department, due to late night hours, heavy contact with the public, heavy cash flow and exchange in an unsecured environment.
3.Construction. Dangers include machinery, crushing, electric shock and chemical exposure. These dangers increase with working with heights.
4.Traveling Youth Crews. This includes door-to-door sales and such, where teens must travel and walk around unfamiliar neighborhoods. Driving accidents, and assaults are the most common problems.
5.Drivers and operators. Most employees in these positions are required to be at least 18 years old. Not only are driving accidents a concern, so are run-overs and being stuck or pinned under equipment.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO
Teens’ wanting a summer job is usually a good thing – it teaches many things, such as responsibility plus time and money management skills. Allowing your teen to take on a summer job is an individual decision. There are many varying factors you must take into consideration as a parent, such as maturity levels. Some teens are able to handle summer positions much earlier than others.
If you feel your teen is not quite ready, have them do some bigger jobs around the house for payment, such as cleaning out the garage or basement. Even babysitting younger siblings or running to the grocery store are options.
If you feel your teen is ready for outside employment, keep communication lines open. Make sure you know what is involved with the position. Insist on proper safety training and emphasize the dangers. Know what your teen is getting into.
And, most importantly – know the child labor laws. Labor laws were instituted for the protection of our youth. They limit the amount of hours a teen can work. They also limit teens in situations with increased risks for injury, such as construction and transportation.
Teens’ in the working world is not necessarily a bad thing. Even teens need spending money! And, what could be a better eye-opener to a teen used to having everything handed to them? The caution here is not to discourage your teen from seeking summer employment – rather, making educated, safety-conscious decisions regarding types of employment and hours to be worked. Usually, keeping communication lines open is the key to successful early employment options!