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

Training any IH/OEHS professional can do

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 no overlap with other trainers in your area.
  • Contact the appropriate school official or administrator to propose a presentation.
    • Identify the module as a joint effort of AIHA and NIOSH.
    • Highlight the program's importance, a general overview of the content to be presented, and the amount of time needed.
    • Provide the expected outcome of the training.
    • Please provide a brief background on yourself as it relates to your IH/OEHS 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 the 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 to control 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.

We don’t prepare kids to protect themselves at work. In fact, as a society, we pretty much do nothing—we send teenagers off to their first jobs with hardly a word about how to recognize hazards, what to do in an emergency, or who to go to if they feel unsafe.

Steven Lacey, PhD, CIH, CSP
Professor & Chair Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health​

​The following programs and resources are not part of NIOSH's Safety Matters initiative. However, the information may prove valuable for presenters looking for additional material to help build out their own unique presentation or to provide to teen workers looking for supplemental references:

  • The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
  • The University of Washington's The Health and Safety Awareness for Working Teens (HSAWT) program. This website contains resources for teens, parents, employers, and teachers. The curricula available on this site include general employment safety curriculum for teens, OSHA 10 hour for teens, agriculture safety curriculum for teens, culinary arts safety curriculum, and workplace sexual harassment curriculum.
  • The United States Department of Labor sponsors the YouthRules website. Individuals can learn about workplace hazards and what type of jobs they can do based on their age.
  • The California Resource Network for Young Workers’ Health and Safety has collected educational resources and curricula from various sources. This includes curricula and teachers’ guides, farm safety curricula, resources for peer educators, educational resources for teens, resources for employers and school-to-work programs, and educational resources for parents and others.
  • The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) has two teen trainers on staff that help organize workshops to educate young workers on workplace safety issues. A major objective is for Peer Leaders to train young people to also train others about their workplace rights, safety, and health. The program also provides training to teachers, parents, and employers on protecting the safety and health of young workers.
  • The Minnesota Department of Health developed the Work Safe Work Smart Curriculum with a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The Minnesota Department of Health worked in collaboration with Minnesota teachers to explore occupational health and safety issues with high school students to reduce young workers' injury rates. The curriculum contains nine distinct lessons available in PDF format for download.