Keeping Teen Workers Safe

Teen barista, ID 141756570 © Saksit Kuson |

As we approach the summer months, many teens and younger adults will be looking to earn some extra money. Teens make great workers when employers provide adequate training and support. To hire anyone under the age of 18 in Washington there are specific rules and laws that employers must follow. Employers who violate minor work restrictions can be subject to fines and civil penalties.

Before hiring minors, you must:

  • Get a minor work permit endorsement on your business license.
  • Get a completed parent/school or summer authorization form (when school is in session and during summer break).
  • Verify the minor’s age, gathering appropriate documentation.
  • Review state and federal child labor laws to learn more about the type of work restrictions that apply to minors and the hours they can work, including rest and meal periods.

For more information on youth employment, including hiring, variances, hours of work, and required rest or meal periods, go to

Employers must be cautious when hiring teen workers. Keeping them safe is critical. Studies show that employees under the age of 25 have a higher rate of injuries compared to those over the age of 25, even though they work fewer hours and are prohibited by law from working in high-risk jobs. Teens may not ask for help, or ask for directions or instructions to be repeated, because they are intimidated in new settings, or as most parents will attest, they think they already know everything! For these reasons, employers must ensure that teen workers are receiving appropriate safety training, and appropriate mentoring, supervision and encouragement.

Hiring teen workers may seem like more work or more risk for some employers, but they can become vital to organizations in certain industries, with the proper hiring, training and support.

For more information, talk to one of our experts:

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter