Workplace Safety & Our Youth

Every year in the U.S. youth are either injured or die from work related injuries. Approximately 70,000 youth end up in the ER with work related injuries while another 70 die every year. It is most common for these injuries to occur in the first 6 months of the job. Many injuries are due to job duties that are illegal for them to do or from inadequate training.

Age Restrictions (Laws that protect teens from doing dangerous work)

No Worker Under 18 May:

-Drive a motor vehicle as a regular part of the job or operate a forklift at anytime.

-Operate many types of powered equipment (like meat slicer, circular saw, bakery machine)

-Work in wrecking, demolition, excavation or roofing.

-Work in mining, logging or a sawmill.

-Work in meat packing or slaughtering.

-Work where there is exposure to radiation.

-Work where explosives are manufactured or stored.


No Worker 14 or 15 Years May:

-Bake or cook on the job (except at a serving counter)

-Operate power-driven machinery, except certain types which pose little hazard such those used in offices.

-Work on a ladder or scaffold.

-Work in warehouses.

-Work in construction, building or manufacturing.

-Load or unload a truck, railroad car or conveyor.

Resources: NIOSH & OSHA

Here’s a great story that emphasizes the need for chainsaw chaps.


“Chaps actually saved my life once (I’m convinced, anyway). I was working for a builder in Michigan, clearing out some of his land for new houses. The lots were heavily wooded and his method was to push the trees over with the backhoe and we would buck them up on the ground, and sometimes this resulted in fairly large piles of trees.


I was working on one of the piles, cutting upwards from underneath the bottom of a limb that was lying more or less horizontally, when the balance of the pile shifted and the upper tip of the blade hit something where I couldn’t see it, and the whole blade kicked back across my upper leg. The chainsaw was running at full speed but the threads in the chainsaw chaps stopped the thing cold.


At first I didn’t even realize what had happened – I thought the saw had bound in the branches or something, and even gave the trigger a few kicks to try and loosen it again. That was when I felt it trying to tug at my pants and realized what had happened. We were miles away from nowhere; I am sure I would have bled to death in minutes if that thing had gone through my leg. So yeah, I’m a big believer in chaps.”


Thanks Joel for your story. The photo used is from another person’s chain saw injury (ugh – blood).   Joel’s leg is just fine.


Chain Saw Chaps