Youth Safety and Health

Every year, youth are injured on the job throughout the state because young workers or their employers are not following the state’s child labor laws. Child labor laws were created to promote safety and health in the workplace and prohibit youth from working long hours, which can jeopardize their development and education.

Workplace Injuries

If you have an accident or are injured at work, you may be covered by workers’ compensation. Missouri law provides certain workers’ compensation benefits to employees who are injured or become ill because of their jobs.

Employees must report the injury IMMEDIATELY (within 30 days) to their supervisor or their employer’s designee. Failure to do so may jeopardize your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

If you have questions about workers’ compensation, please contact your employer for additional information. Or, you may contact an Information Specialist at the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Division of Workers’ Compensation at 1-800-775-COMP.

Unsafe Conditions

Inexperience in the workplace is a safety concern as well as unsafe working conditions. Youth are encouraged to report any unsafe conditions or equipment to their supervisor. If unsafe working conditions persist, you have the right to report the condition to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), by calling the Kansas City office (816-483-9531) or the St. Louis office (314-425-4249).

Discrimination or Sexual Harassment

If you encounter problems with discrimination or sexual harassment while on a job or while applying for a job, you have the right to file a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). To file a discrimination complaint, contact the Missouri Commission on Human Rights or the EEOC.

Helpful Safety Tips for Young Workers

  • Know the locations of emergency exits.
  • Do not respond to incidents unless your are trained in first aid.
  • Be sure to report any injury, regardless how minor, at the time it happens.
  • Working with toxic chemicals or chemicals that require use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is prohibited for youth under 16.
  • Working in a confined space is prohibited for youth under 16.
  • Work requiring Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is prohibited for youth under 16.
  • Use of ladders and scaffolding are prohibited for youth under 16.
  • Use of power-driven machinery, except some lawn and garden machinery, is prohibited for youth under 16.
  • Cooking is a prohibited occupation for youth under 16.
  • Beware of hot surfaces.
  • In case of a fire, make sure you know how to use a fires extinguisher. Leave large fires to the professionals.
  • With any burn, immerse or cover the burned area with cold water.
  • If you receive a cut, receive first aid then make sure all surfaces are properly cleaned to protect you and others from blood-borne diseases.
  • Do not wear loose clothing or dangling jewelry that can get caught.
  • Keep long hair restrained.
  • Protect your feet by wearing enclosed shoes.
  • Never use electrical devices while standing in water.
  • Never work alone, especially in the evening.
  • If there is a robbery attempt, do not attempt to be a hero. Never argue or struggle with the perpetrators.
  • Never lift from a sitting position. Sitting puts more pressure on the spine.
  • Push rather than pull a load.
  • Report any unsafe conditions or equipment to your supervisor.