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What's OSHA and How Will it Affect My Kids?

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As so many kids are entering their first summer jobs, it’s important for them to know the responsibilities of the working world. This doesn’t just include knowing their role or how to behave at work, but what certain things like OSHA are and why it’s important to pay attention to them. I know that going over safety regulations and practices is a boring thing to most teens, but that’s exactly why they’re the most susceptible to potential risks such as injury and hazardous conditions. And if you’re not careful, your child could become a victim too.

Before we can start running through how learning about OSHA can protect your child, we first have to talk about what OSHA is and why it was formed. OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a division of the Department of Labor that was created to establish oversight over workplace safety by providing safety standards, as well as training, education, and assistance. The role OSHA plays is crucial for every employer and employee relationship, providing a level of transparency and accountability on both ends as to what’s expected. And believe it or not, your teen is no exception.

What OSHA Training Is

One of the primary things that OSHA establishes is guidelines on proper safety training, which can be essential for any job. Whether your child is working in a fast food restaurant or retail, most major corporations and small businesses alike are well aware of the protocols necessary. While OSHA does not require training, they do have authorized training programs, which you can check in with your child’s employer to see if they fulfill the requirements.

Another important note about OSHA training is that it’s contingent upon each industry. That is, the type of regulations for even a coffee shop could be wildly different than that of burger place. Really, this deals with the equipment that’s being used, and in some cases, who’s allowed to use it. For example, individual states have their own safety standards regarding what people under 18 or 16 are allowed to use (I.E.: using a knife or slicer can be prohibited), so it’s best to check in with your local regulations as well.

Remember, these protocols are here for a reason, not only to protect your child but to potentially keep yourself safe as well.

How OSHA Can Affect You

Believe it or not, as a parent, you can potentially be liable for what your child does in the workplace. The cases of an employee being sued by an employer (especially with teenagers) are incredibly rare, but it does happen. More, it’s the type of situation that’s extremely easy to prevent (in fact, OSHA even has an outline specifically for younger workers). This is why it’s imperative for you as a parent to educate your kids on the importance of workplace safety.

While it’s not the most fun conversation to have, going over the expectations of your child’s workplace with them will save you and both them quite a bit in the long run. Not only will you be reducing your child’s risk of injury (and trust me, they happen a lot), but they’ll be able to enjoy their jobs much more. Additionally, their coworkers will appreciate it quite a bit as they know that since they’re new to the job, they’re going to need a little extra guidance. Plus, this allows you to breathe a little easier in knowing that you can verify that training occurred.

Overall, as long as OSHA exist, then it’s something that is going to follow your child through their working career, so it’s good to start explaining to them now why proper safety procedures are necessary. It’s a terrible thought to consider our kids potentially getting injured at work, or even worse, doing something that could cost someone else their livelihood. I know from an outside perspective it might sound farfetched, but these things happen more often than people consider. That’s why it’s imperative for them to understand what they’re getting into. Doing so will not only protect you, but your child’s future as well to make for a healthy work-life for the rest of their career.

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