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Safe Work for Youth in Construction – Information for Employers


December 2003
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2004-113
cover page of document 2004-113

Youth who are under 18 years old can be an asset to your workforce. They are enthusiastic and eager to learn. However, like other new and inexperienced workers, these young workers can be injured on the job when they don’t receive adequate safety training and supervision. Some injuries have a lifelong impact, and some are even fatal. Furthermore, on-the-job injuries to young workers can be costly.

Young workers get hurt when:

  • They take on jobs for which they’re not trained — sometimes without being asked
  • They don’t have appropriate supervision
  • They work with dangerous tools or equipment
  • They perform tasks that violate youth employment laws

Work on a construction site is especially hazardous. In fact, the construction industry, which employs less than 3% of all young workers, ranks 3rd in the number of work-related fatalities to youth — at 14% of all occupational deaths to youth under 18.

Could a tragedy like this happen at one of your work sites?

In 2000, a 16-year-old male framing construction crew member died after falling 27 feet from the third story of a residential dormitory construction site. The boy was standing on an 8-inch wide structural wooden beam while positioning roof trusses. Fall protection equipment was not being used. His head was struck by one of the 8-foot by 4-foot trusses that fell with him to the ground. He died from severe chest and head trauma.

Safe Work for Youth in Construction – Information for Employers [PDF – 310 KB]