Builders Need to Keep Teens Safe in Summer Jobs
Minors working in construction run twice the risk of fatal injuries as employees aged 25 to 44, according to a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Report.
OSHA, with the support of NAHB, is working to reduce this statistic with its 2007 Teen Summer Job Safety Campaign, an educational program created to help keep teenagers safe and healthy on the job.
“Through this campaign, we hope to instill a culture of safety and health at a young age in America's next generation of employees,” said Edwin G. Foulke, Jr., OSHA assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.
The campaign’s Web page, “Construction: Build a Safe Work Foundation," was unveiled on April 17 at the Thomas Edison High School of Technology in Silver Spring, Md.
Home builders who are thinking about hiring youth for summer work need to be aware of the laws regarding employment of minors. Civil penalties of up to $11,000 can be levied for each violation.
For example, 14- and 15-year-olds may be employed by construction companies doing office work in an office setting, but not in a construction trailer on the job site. They also may not operate any power-driven machinery or motor vehicles or serve as helpers on those vehicles.
Additionally, minors under age 18 are prohibited from the following construction activities, which have been declared “hazardous” by the secretary of labor:
- Being on construction sites where explosives are stored or used
- Working in ccupations involving motor vehicles
- Operating power-driven woodworking machines, hoisting apparatus, drills, circular saws, bandsaws and guillotine shears
- Working in wrecking and demolition, including site clean-up and salvage
- Working in roofing operations, even those performed on the ground
- Working in excavation operations except in trenches less than 4 feet in depth
Builders should carefully review the regulations because there are exemptions for certain ages and functions, for family members and for 16- and 17-year-old apprentices and student learners.
A PowerPoint presentation from the Department of Labor provides a comprehensive overview of regulations on youth working in construction.
Other resources on child labor are available from the Department of Labor at www.dol.gov/esa/whd and www.youthrules.dol.gov/. The sites contain regulations, fact sheets, a field operations handbook, eLaws, frequently asked questions and links to other youth safety and employment resources. Potential employers can also call toll-free: 1-866-4US-WAGE to ask specific questions or register comments.
Through its alliance with OSHA, NAHB provides members and others in the residential construction industry, including non-English and limited English-speaking employees and trade contractors, with information, guidance and access to training resources to help them protect employees' health and safety.
A variety of safety resources and guidebooks are available through www.builderbooks.com.
For more information on construction safety resources available from NAHB, e-mail Rob Matuga, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8507.