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Young workers have rights, too

Workers who are still minors—under the age of 18—are allowed to work in many situations, even though there are stipulations regarding the hours they can work and what industries they can work in. It's important for these younger workers to know that they also have rights if they are injured on the job, and they must know what to do to exercise these rights in Pennsylvania.

Some of the rights that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration wants young workers to know that they have include the following:

1. The right to a safe working environment.

2. The right to get safety and health training that is provided in the language that they speak.

3. The right to ask questions if they are ever unsure about instructions that are given or if they think a situation is unsafe.

4. The right to use safety gear, along with the right to be trained properly in the use of that gear. Examples of safety equipment include goggles, hard hats, and ear plugs.

5. The right to exercise any of the above without being discriminated against or retaliated against.

6. The right to file a complain with OSHA—a complaint that is confidential—if an unsafe condition exists. Again, if young workers file complaints, employers are not allowed to retaliate or to try to intimidate workers into not filing such safety complaints.

Do not assume that you can't do any of the above just because you're young; these are rights that are given to all workers. Be sure you know what they are, how you can use them, and how they are backed by laws and regulations.

Source: OSHA, "Safe Work for Young Workers," accessed Jan. 14, 2016

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