U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao on April 21 kicked off the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) national 2008 Teen Summer Job Safety Campaign on NBC's TODAY show.
"The Teen Summer Job Safety Campaign educates teenagers on the importance of workplace safety and health habits that will help protect them and their coworkers at work," Secretary Chao said.
OSHA launched the fourth year of its youth public awareness campaign at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, where the agency and teens from SkillsUSA demonstrated safe work practices for some of the most common tasks that teens are likely to encounter in summer jobs. SkillsUSA, an OSHA national Alliance Program participant, is a non-profit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations.
OSHA will host and participate in local events and activities around the country to help keep teenagers safe and healthy on the job. Activities include career fairs, youth programs, expos, career days and training seminars. OSHA and its regional partners are striving to reduce work-related injuries among teens by teaching them on-the-job safety and integration of principles into their work tasks from this early age. Through working with many strong national and regional Alliance Program participants and other cooperative programs, OSHA plans to reach more than three million teens.
Workplaces are safer than they have ever been with fatality and injury and illness rates declining to record lows in this administration. The injury and illness rate was 4.4 per 100 employees and the work-related fatality rate was 4.0 fatalities per 100,000 employees in 2006, the latest data available. Since OSHA's inception in 1971, U.S. employment has increased from 56 million employees at 3.5 million worksites to more than 135 million employees at 8.9 million worksites.
"Programs like the Teen Summer Job Safety Campaign help create a culture of safety," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "Our goal is to continue to drive down the number of occupational injuries among teens, especially in the construction industry."
The campaign is part of OSHA's Young Worker Initiative, which provides information and resources to teenagers, parents, educators and employers to ensure safe and rewarding work experiences for these summer employees. More information about workplace safety for teens is available at www.osha.gov/teens.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health.