Working Safely – Advice for Teens
If you are having any symptoms or have any questions, please call 811 to speak with a registered nurse 24 hours a day.
Am I at risk of getting hurt at work?
Yes, you may be. In 2016, 6 young workers between the ages of 15-19 died as a result of injuries at work. An additional 29,588 teens were hurt on the job and had to go to a hospital or emergency department. Teens are often injured on the job because of unsafe equipment, because they were working too fast or under stress or because they didn’t have proper safety training or supervision.
What hazards should I watch out for?
It depends on the kind of work you do. Some examples of hazards by type of work are listed below.
- Slippery floors
- Hot pans, stoves and grills
- Sharp objects
- Toxic chemicals in cleaning supplies
- Blood on discarded needles
- Human waste
- Poor computer workstation design (can cause repetitive movement injuries)
- Heavy lifting
- Violent crimes (such as robberies)
Are there certain jobs I’m not allowed to do?
Yes. Depending on your age, certain jobs are considered too dangerous for you according to provincial labor laws.
If you’re younger than 16 in Prince Edward Island, you are not allowed to:
- Work in construction
- Work as a signaler in traffic
- Work as an apprentice in a trade
In Nova Scotia, if you are under 16, you are not allowed to:
- Work in mining
- Work in manufacturing
- Work in garages and automobile service stations
- Work in hotels
- Work in billiard rooms, pool rooms, bowling alleys or theatres
- Work in construction
- Work in forestry
Are there limits to when and how much I can work?
Labor laws protect 14- and 15-year-olds from working too often, too late or too early. Some states have laws that apply to older teens as well. If you are 16 years old or older, there are no restrictions on your work hours.
In Nova Scotia it is illegal to employ a person under 14 years:
- for more than 8 hours a day
- for more than 3 hours on a school day unless a certificate has been issued under the Education Act to allow the child to work
- for any time during the day when that time plus the time the child is in school adds up to more than 8 hours
- between the hours of 10 pm of any day and 6 am of the next day
In Prince Edward Island, a person under 16 must:
- work no more than 3 hours on a school day and 8 hours on a non-school day;
- work no more than 40 hours per week
- work between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. only
What are my safety responsibilities on the job?
To work safely you should keep the following in mind:
- Follow all safety rules.
- Use safety equipment and wear protective clothing when needed.
- Keep work areas clean and neat.
- Know what to do in an emergency.
- Report any health and safety hazards to your supervisor.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Government of Canada website: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/jobs/workplace.html
Protecting the Health and Safety of Working Teenagers by H Rubenstein, MR Sternbach, SH Pollack (08/01/99, http://www.aafp.org/afp/990800ap/575.html)
Adapted from “Are You a Working Teen?” Rockville, Md.: Dept of Health and Human Services, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1997; DHHS (NIOSH) publication no. 97-132.