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OSHA plans initiative to protect teens from workplace injuries

Summer break in Oklahoma is the time for many teenagers to get a taste of work life and earn an income that will make them less dependent on their parents. Safety authorities warn that inexperience, over-eagerness and the desire to satisfy employers often lead to serious workplace injuries among teen workers. For that reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently undertook to provide youth, administrators and educators with safety guidelines.

The agency will launch the National Youth Safety Initiative that is a two-year program that will provide resources and information about common safety hazards that young workers encounter. Together, they will promote health and safety awareness in both technical and career education programs to prepare young workers. Some of their teachings will focus on the agriculture, construction and health care industries.

Discussions on occupational health and safety training for entry-level and youth workers will be facilitated. OSHA will provide information about its various initiatives related to prevention of falls and other programs. However, it is also essential for young workers to learn about procedures to follow in the events of injuries.

Employers must inform workers about the insurance program that covers workplace injuries. Any injury must immediately be reported to the employer, who will provide the necessary forms for filing workers' compensation claims. Injured workers are free to seek legal counsel to help with the navigation of benefits claims. The Oklahoma workers' compensation insurance program typically pays medical expenses and provides wage-replacement packages, based on average weekly wages, for workers who are temporarily disabled.

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