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June 19, 2017
New Texas law promotes workplace safety education

A bill signed into law earlier this month encourages Texas school districts and educators to include workplace safety training information in the curriculum of appropriate courses for students in grades 7-12. The bill was strongly supported by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), whose members worked with Texas lawmakers, including State Representative Dr. Greg Bonnen and State Senator Larry Taylor. The law takes effect immediately.

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AIHA immediate past president Steven E. Lacey, who testified before Texas legislative committees in support of the measure, said the law represents a challenge and an opportunity for Texas and for the nation. “The challenge is to now work with schools and school districts to implement the law—and for other states to enact similar legislation,” he commented. “The opportunity is for AIHA’s members to make real progress toward improving teen workplace health and safety by working with policymakers.”

AIHA has been working on improving teen workplace safety for some time and has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to help develop Safety Matters (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/safetymatters/default.html), a program to provide basic safety skills and raise awareness among teens. The program is free with no special training needed to deliver it.

According to AIHA, nearly 80 percent of teens are currently in the workforce. Research suggests that they are twice as likely as adults to be injured at work. As a result, some 60,000 of these young workers end up in the emergency room annually from job-related injuries.

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