Safety Matters Center

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) are proud to present Safety Matters, a program to raise awareness among young people about workplace safety and health and to provide an understanding of the skills they need to become active participants in creating safe and healthy work environments. The materials presented in this module are based on a full curriculum from NIOSH, Talking Safety.

Safety Matters is a one-hour interactive teaching module and PowerPoint presentation targeted to students in grades 7 through 12. It can be used by safety professionals to equip young people with the skills and knowledge they need to participate in safe and healthy work environments throughout their working lives. Safety Matters presents essential information and career-readiness skills through a focus on 8 Core Competencies , which are transferable, foundational workplace safety and health knowledge, skills and abilities. 

Did You Know?

  • Approximately 1.6 million U.S. teens (aged 15–17) work.
  • Every nine minutes, a U.S. teen is injured on the job.
  • On average, each year:
    • 59,800 workers under the age of 18 are sent to the ER for job-related injuries
    • 37 workers under the age of 18 die on the job.
    • Young workers are twice as likely to be injured compared to adult workers.

The Safety Matters—A Safety & Health Training for Young Workers

The culmination of a joint effort between AIHA and NIOSH, this unique training module is designed to educate teen workers through a combination of statistics, real-world situations, videos/stories from teens who experienced a job-related injury and the impact it had on their lives, and interactive group discussions.

Safety Matters will teach students:

  • that all workers can be injured, become sick, or even be killed on the job
  • that work-related injuries and illnesses are predictable and can be prevented
  • how to identify hazards at work and predict how workers can be injured or made sick
  • how to prevent injury and illness
  • how to identify emergencies at work and decide on the best ways to address them
  • that employers are responsible for, and workers have the right to, safe and healthy work
  • how to find resources that help keep workers safe and healthy on the job
  • how workers can communicate with others—including people in authority—when they feel unsafe or threatened

Where would I conduct this training?

The target audience would be at the high-school level, though in some instances, the training would prove beneficial for both middle school and early stage college-level students.

  • Identify schools within your area and submit information to AIHA to ensure that there is no overlap with other trainers in your area.
  • Contact the appropriate school official or administrator to propose presentation.
    • Identify the module as a joint effort of AIHA and NIOSH.
    • Highlight the importance of the program, a general overview of content to be presented, and the amount of time needed.
    • Provide the expected outcome of the training.
    • Provide a brief background on yourself as it relates to your IH/OH background

What are the expectations of a trainer?

  • The material/content provided is the property of AIHA/NIOSH and is not to be altered in any way.
  • This training module is to be used as a standalone program and should not be combined within a larger training program without express consent of AIHA.
  • All trainers are required to attend a one-time training orientation "town hall" call.
  • Allow time for Q&A both during and after the presentation.
  • Interactive group discussions should include a blend of both overall class as well as smaller, intimate groups.
    • Help to facilitate smaller groups by visiting each table.
    • Have each smaller group capture their findings and report out to the class overall.
    • Rotate seating for smaller group discussions so teens get exposed to others in the room.
  • Provide your contact details should a student have questions or need clarification after the fact.

What is the expected outcome of the training?

Upon completion of the training, a teen worker should be able to:

  1. Understand the definition of a teen worker.
  2. Define and identify job-related hazards
    1. Combination of stand and deliver as well as facilitated interactive group discussion
  3. Define what constitutes safety hazards, chemical hazards, biological hazards, and other health-related hazards.
    1. Combination of stand and deliver as well as facilitated interactive group discussion
  4. Have a thorough understanding of how to make the job safer by employing actions that will assist in controlling job hazards.
    1. Combination of stand and deliver as well as facilitated interactive group discussion
  5. Being prepared and taking action.
    1. Combination of stand and deliver as well as facilitated interactive group discussion
  6. Rights and responsibilities as a teen worker.
  7. The role of an OSH professional.