Teens Face Summer Job Danger

In the next few weeks, millions of teens will be starting summer jobs. But according to Department of Labor statistics, workplace dangers result in more than 200,000 injuries to teens and 70 deaths each year.

To make kids and parents more aware of the dangers, Labor Secretary Alexis Herman has launched a Work Safe This Summer campaign.

"The reality is when you look at the kinds of jobs kids are in today -- restaurant work, retail work -- there are many hazards associated with these jobs. Grease on the floor, slipping on the floor, operating meat cutters and other kinds of slicing equipment," are among the most common dangers, Herman said.

"But the number one killer for kids in the workplace today, believe it or not, is driving a car. Kids just aren't experienced enough when getting their first work experience also to be handling a motor vehicle and often times, heavy-powered equipment is a big part of that," she added.

While there are laws in place to protect teens, Herman said parents need to be more aware of them.

"For instance," she said, "a kid who is under 16 years of age cannot drive in the workplace. And if you have a driver's license, there are certain restrictions, even if you're 17 years of age. A parent needs to know that."

Herman said she has four tips for parents to help get the word out.

  • Talk to your kids: "You need to know about the kind of work that they're involved in," Herman said.
  • Engage the employer: "We engage teachers -- let's find out who the boss is, who the co-workers are," she said.
  • Educate yourself: "Know the law. Know the hazardous jobs and what can happen," Herman advised.
  • Learn to say no: "If you're being asked to ride on the back of a truck or handle toxic chemicals, know when to say no," she said.