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yes-campaign-blog-imageMemorial Day is right around the corner — the unofficial start to summer and for many teens and young adults the start of a summer job. All across the state, young workers will be seen scooping ice cream, serving food, working as camp counselors, bagging groceries and lifeguarding, just for example. For so many young people, a summer job can mean spending money and the beginning lines of a professional resume.  Unfortunately, it could also mean getting hurt at work. Thousands of young workers are treated in emergency rooms for a work-related injury each year.

Getting Hurt Is Not In Your Job Description is a social media campaign, sponsored by the Massachusetts YES Team, that encourages youth to know about their rights on the job—specifically, their right to a safe and healthy workplace. The campaign shares scenarios in which young workers are asked to do something that isn’t safe—not wear gloves, climb a broken ladder—and urges them to recognize hazards, and to speak up or ask questions if they encounter situations at work that feel unsafe.

“Lift her into the chair. I’m busy.” If my boss had told me to do that when I was in high school or college, would I have lifted the patient into the chair even if I wasn’t sure how or thought I could get hurt. The answer is probably yes and I wouldn’t be alone. Fifty percent of injured teens interviewed say they’ve never been trained how to do their job safely.

All workers should be provided health and safety training and protective equipment as needed, for any task they are told to do.  But young workers, in particular, are less experienced and require adequate training and supervision, especially when there are known hazards in the workplace that cannot be removed by their employer.

Getting hurt is not in anyone’s job description. Receiving the appropriate training and supervision to perform a job safely should be in everyone’s.

To learn more about young worker health and safety, visit www.mass.gov/youngworkers.

Written By:


Project Coordinator in the Occupational Health Surveillance Program

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