Hazards

Hazards in the workplace can injure teens on the job.

Every year 30-50 teens under 18 die from work injuries in the United States. Another 27,000 get hurt badly enough that they go to a hospital emergency room. Learning about hazards can help prevent workplace injuries.

What is a hazard?

A hazard can be a visible or invisible danger.

A Hazard is something that can harm you physically or psychologically, and can have a negative affect to you at that moment or in the long run. There are many different kinds of hazards at the workplace.

Read stories and scenarios of workplace hazards at our Stats & Stories page.

Kinds of hazards

Safety Hazards

Safety hazards can cause immediate accidents and injuries like cuts, slips and falls, burns, and back injuries. Some examples are:

  • sharp knives
  • deep fat fryers
  • slippery floors
  • heavy objects

Violence and assaults are also safety hazards.

Health Hazards

Health hazards are harmful things, living or non-living, that can injure you or make you sick.

They include chemical hazards that can cause immediate or longer-term health effects. Examples include:

  • disinfectants
  • detergents
  • solvents
  • paints

Physical and environmental hazards are also health hazards and include:

  • dust
  • extreme heat
  • extreme cold
  • unsanitary conditions

Other Health Hazards

Other health hazards are sometimes less obvious because they may not cause health problems right away.

Examples are stress hazards, which include:

  • noise
  • stress
  • pressure to work faster
  • sexual harassment
  • repetitive movements
Why do injuries like these occur?

Most workplace injuries are preventable.

  • Teens are often injured on the job due to unsafe equipment, stressful conditions, and pressure to work faster.
  • Teens may not receive adequate safety training and supervision.
  • Teens are much more likely to be injured when they work on jobs they are not allowed to do by law.
Examples of hazards (by Industry)

The hazards teens face will depend on what kind of work they do.

Here are some examples of hazards they may encounter. There are many more.

  Hazard
Janitor/Clean-up
  • Toxic chemicals in cleaning products
  • Blood on discarded needles in the trash
Food Service
  • Slippery floors
  • Hot cooking equipment
  • Sharp objects, such as knives and slicer
Retail/Sales
  • Violent crimes
  • Heavy lifting
  • Repetitive motion from operating checkout scanner
Office/Clerical
  • Harassment
  • Poor computer work station design
Packing Plant
  • Slippery floors
  • Heavy lifting
  • Repeated movements
Hoeing
  • Heat stress
  • Bending (can hurt your back)
Hand Harvesting
  • Pesticides
  • Ladders
  • Electrocution
Using Machines
  • Tractors
  • Sharp blades and conveyor belts
Hazards Activity

See if you can spot all the safety and health hazards!

It’s time to test your skills now that you’ve learned about potential hazards in different workplaces.