Starting a first job is an important milestone for teenagers. It gives them a taste of both responsibility and freedom, preparing them to support themselves as adults. However, this means that they are put at the same job risks as their adult coworkers. For example, if they work in manufacturing like 12.5 million others in the United States, they need to follow the same safety rules as everyone else. They also have particular concerns to worry about as inexperienced teens. Before your teen begins their first job, make sure you discuss workplace safety with them. Here are four things they need to know.
Always Follow Your Safety Training
Any good workplace will provide safety training as part of their orientation process. Make sure that your teen knows to take this training seriously. No matter where they are working, there is going to be an element of risk involved. Food service jobs involve heat and sharp objects. Customer service jobs involve working with the public. Your teen needs to make sure that they understand the safety rules that they are required to follow. If they have any questions, they should ask their boss as soon as possible. And even as they get more comfortable with the job, they should never stop following the safety guidelines.
This tip remains true even if the boss isn’t following safety guidelines. This can happen sometimes. If you’re involved with cleaning machinery, manufacturers say that heat exchangers should be cleaned every five years. If your supervisors don’t follow this or other safety rules, you should still keep yourself safe.
Know Your Rights
Workers have rights. And there are special restrictions on how much teenagers can work and what jobs they can hold. While most businesses will care about your teen’s safety, some might try to get around these rights. It is important that you and your teen both know them. Many of your rights have to do with your safety. If you are injured on the job, your employer can be held liable if you file a personal injury suit against them. A personal injury claim states that you were injured because of someone else and you are now entitled to compensation. Your teen’s employer won’t teach them these things, so make sure that they understand before beginning the job.
Communicate with Your Parents
Make sure that your parents know what is going on at work. Not only is this a good way to bond with each other, it also helps them to look out for your safety. While you might not recognize something as a safety issue, your parents might have the work experience to tell them it’s a problem. While your parents aren’t going to fight your battles for you at work, you might need them for things that are bigger than unpleasant bosses or boring tasks.
Trust Your Gut
When you’re at work, use your training and trust your instincts. If something seems wrong, don’t ignore it. Always keep your safety in mind and report issues to your supervisor. When your gut is telling you something is wrong, it is usually because your subconscious has picked up on the danger before your mind. So listen to your gut.
If your teenager follows these tips, they will be able to make choices at work that will keep them safe. Make sure that you stay in close communication with them and do your best to help them navigate their first days at a new job. From there, they will be able to use their own training and experience to prioritize their safety on the job.