AIHA, NIOSH Jointly Announce “Safety Matters” Initiative for Young Workers

The “Safety Matters” program, which is intended to teach young people about work safety and health, was introduced at AIHA’s Fall Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Release No. SPR-15-1027-01

Chanta’ Stewart, AIHA Communications

(703) 846-0700;

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (October 27, 2015) —This morning, the Americansm-cover.gif Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) jointly introduced the new “Safety Matters” initiative at AIHA’s Fall Conference in Orlando, Fla. ​

Based on NIOSH’s “Youth@Work: Talking Safety,” foundation curriculum in occupational safety and health, which was developed for schools throughout the United States, “Safety Matters” is a one-hour interactive teaching module and PowerPoint presentation targeted to students in grades 7 through 12 which the members of AIHA will help deliver to schools and youth groups throughout the nation. 

An article published in the October 2015 issue of AIHA’s magazine The Synergist, “Bringing Work Safety and Health to Schools,” discusses the need to equip the emerging work force with workplace safety and health knowledge and skills. The authors, AIHA President-elect Steven Lacey, PhD, CIH, CSP; Rebecca Guerin, MA, coordinator of the NIOSH Safe-Skilled-Ready Workforce Initiative (SSRWI); and Andrea Okun, DrPH, Associate Director for Global Collaborations and co-coordinator of SSRWI, cite data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that highlight this gap in young people’s education.

“Approximately 1.5 million teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 are employed in the United States,” the authors write. “Each year, on average, 60,000 of these young workers are injured seriously enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room.”

The “Safety Matters” program is intended to raise awareness among young workers about workplace safety and health, and teach them about topics such as: 

  • identifying hazards at work

  • injury and illness prevention

  • identifying emergencies at work and deciding on the best ways to address them

  • how workers can communicate with others—including people in authority—when they feel unsafe or threatened

AIHA is dedicated to spreading the message of workplace safety and health to young people by presenting the “Safety Matters” program to students.  AIHA members can also volunteer to bring the full “Youth@Work: Talking Safety” curriculum into their local school districts or lobby their state legislators to make occupational health and safety an integral part of career readiness programming in schools.

For more information or to download the free “Safety Matters” presentation, visit the Safety Matters Center on AIHA’s website, as well as on NIOSH's website.  

Please spread the word: please remember to use the hashtag #SafeTeensatWork when discussing the new program on social media. 


About AIHA
Founded in 1939, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) is the premier association of occupational and environmental health and safety professionals. AIHA’s 10,000 members play a crucial role on the front line of worker health and safety every day. Members represent a cross-section of industry, private business, labor, government and academia. More information is available at

NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. For more information about NIOSH visit