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Young Oklahoma workers have rights to safety on the job

With schools out for the summer throughout Oklahoma, high school students have found -– or are looking for –- jobs to keep them occupied and make some money.

For many teenagers, this will be their first job. They might be unaware of the safety precautions that should be in place at their workplace.

Young workers become injured or sick at work for a number of reasons, including inadequate supervision or safety training, unsafe equipment, assignment of duties that are inappropriate or illegal for those under 18 and stressful conditions like being pressured to work faster. It is the responsibility of employers to minimize hazards on the job for all employees, including teens.

Depending on the business, teens and other workers could face the following hazards on the job:

  • Machinery and equipment
  • Heavy lifting
  • Repetitive motion
  • Wet and slippery floors
  • Violent crime
  • Sharp objects
  • Hot equipment, such as ovens
  • Electric shocks
  • Dangerous chemicals
  • Blood from discarded needles
  • Neck and back strain
  • Stress
  • Heat exposure
  • Pesticides
  • Noise
  • Struck-by injuries, such as vehicles
  • Moving equipment

Younger workers might not know they have rights on the job, or they might be too afraid to speak up and say something about hazards that they see or an injury they suffer. Their employer must, by law, provide a safe workplace.

If that workplace isn't safe, workers of any age shouldn't stay quiet. They are protected by law when they report unsafe practices, and their employer needs to take any on-the-job injuries seriously. The safety of all employees should be the highest priority in the workplace. If it isn't, an attorney experienced in workers compensation cases can help.

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