NJ Youth@Work

The NJ section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (NJAIHA) is seeking support from the membership to help train youths regarding occupational health and safety. Youths begin their careers by performing basic work tasks with little or no training and understanding of job health and safety. NJAIHA in concert with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) would like to begin asking all NJ school districts to present a sustainable 45-minute curriculum (e.g., one class period) for students who are seeking employment and the responsibilities of their employers to provide a safe and healthful workplace.

In 2013, there were approximately 18.1 million workers less than 24 years of age, and these workers represented 13% of the workforce. Young workers have high occupational injury rates in workplaces where they typically work (e.g. hazards in restaurant settings associated with slippery floors and use of knives and cooking equipment). Inexperience and lack of safety and health training also increase injury/illness risk for young workers.

The NJ Youth@Work–Talking Safety curriculum is a fun, free and engaging that helps administrators, teachers and school/community-based job placement staff educate young people about the basics of job safety and health. Also, the curriculum presents essential information and career-readiness skills that focuses on eight (8) strategic core competencies. The transferable skills gained in the curriculum will help students stay safe and healthy now and throughout their lives. All eleven (11) lesson plans are designed for a single 45–minute class period. The curriculum has been vetted to meet all applicable NJ state child labor laws and regulations. It is flexible and it can easily be tailored to meet the needs of all NJ youths. Please review the training and educational materials available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/talkingsafety/states/nj/2015-148/default.html

Help spread the word about how a 45-minute stand down may prevent students from becoming sick or ill as they enter the workforce on a summer job or after graduation. School administrators and faculty typically talk with students about many issues like drunk driving, cyber bullying, etc. – so why not talk about occupational health and safety. The time given to educate a student may be life changing.


OSHA also has a plethora of information dedicated to the health and safety of young workers. Below are links to some of the OSHA webpages:

Young Workers – You have Rights!: https://www.osha.gov/youngworkers/

Young Worker Safety in Restaurants E-tools: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/youth/restaurant/

OSHA Fact Sheet on Young Workers: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/young_workers.html