Hot Topics in Worker Rights
With summer around the corner, many teens are beginning the process of looking for a summer job. In 2007—the last year for which there are complete records—an estimated 2.6 million adolescents aged 16 to 17 years worked in the U.S. That doesn’t include the 400,000 children of migrant and seasonal farmworkers who help put food on our tables at ages below 16 because of loopholes in our child labor laws.
Know the Legal Limits
To protect young workers like you, state and federal laws limit the hours you can work and the kinds of work you can do. For state and federal child labor laws, visit Youth Rules.
Play it Safe
Always follow safety training. Working safely and carefully may slow you down, but ignoring safe work procedures is a fast track to injury. There are hazards in every workplace — recognizing and dealing with them correctly may save your life.
Forklifts, tractors, and all-terrain vehicles pose dangers for many young workers. Several youth tractor accidents have been detailed in our section on agricultural fatalities and injuries. Some recent forklift and vehicle accidents involving youth: