Did you just recently find out that your teen was injured at work? They might not have told you because they didn’t want you to “overreact” – until the injury got so bad they knew had to see a doctor. They didn’t tell their boss because they were afraid they might have their hours reduced or even lose their job.
Your teen may know little, if anything, about workers’ compensation and think it only applies to full-time adult employees. You might not even be aware that they have the same rights to it as anyone else. Let’s look at some facts that all teens with a job – and their parents – need to know.
Teens are entitled to a safe, healthy workplace
Too often, teen workers don’t get the safety training required to do their jobs safely. Too many employers don’t take the time to train young workers who may only be working weekends and after school or during winter and summer vacations.
However, teens often have jobs that can put them at risk for serious injury or illness. They work in restaurant kitchens, stocking shelves in stores, lifeguarding at the country club and much more.
State and federal agencies have resources for teen workers
Ohio’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) recognizes the importance of teen safety in the workplace. The BWC provides online “tool kits” for young people, parents, employers and educators. Among other things, it emphasizes that young workers have the right to speak up if they’re asked to do something they consider unsafe or untrained for and if they see safety issues. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also provides resources for young workers.
Teens should also make sure they’re informed of the procedure for reporting an injury. They need to understand that they, like all workers, cannot legally suffer retaliation if they speak up about safety or health issues or seek workers’ compensation.
Most teens make it through their part-time and summer jobs without serious injury. However, if your teen has suffered an injury or illness related to their job, workers’ comp benefits will cover medical care and help replace some lost wages. If you have questions or concerns about your teen’s ability to apply or be approved for these benefits, it may be wise to get legal guidance.