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August 20, 2013
NIOSH youth curriculum may help your training efforts

The back-to-school ads are already appearing, and some students will soon be heading back to school. In some school districts, workplace safety training will be part of this year’s curriculum. Read to find out what students are learning and how your workers can benefit.

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The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed Youth@Work: Talking Safety, a school safety curriculum that aims to reduce occupational injuries and illnesses among youth. NIOSH says 80 percent of teens have held a job by the time they finish high school. While employment can provide many benefits for young people, it can also be dangerous.

Each year, about 53,000 youth are injured seriously enough to seek emergency room treatment. If fact, notes NIOSH, teens are injured at a higher rate than adult workers.

Focus on hazards and prevention

Youth@Work teaches core health and safety skills and knowledge relevant to any occupation. The curriculum includes six lesson plans:

  • Young worker injuries emphasizes the impact a job injury can have on a young person’s life.
  • Finding hazards develops an understanding of the common health and safety hazards that teens may face on the job.
  • Findings ways to make the job safer explains measures that can reduce or eliminate hazards on the job.
  • Emergencies at work introduces students to the various types of emergencies that can occur and explains how employers and workers should respond to them.
  • Know your rights focuses on the legal rights all workers have under health and safety laws and the special rights afforded to young people under child labor laws.
  • Taking action helps young people learn to speak up if a problem or concern arises at work.

As an employer, you may wish to download the curriculum and incorporate some of the elements into your own training for new or inexperienced workers. Youth@Work information is available from the NIOSH website at

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