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Keeping "Yutes" Safe During Summer Employment

Greg LaRochelle 2014 Posted by Greg LaRochelle

In the movie, My Cousin Vinny, actor Joe Pesce plays a New York lawyer who defends his cousin, Billy, and a friend, both students at NYU, from a crime they did not commit while traveling through Alabama.  While representing the two boys in court, Pesce (Vinny Gambini) refers to them with a heavy Brooklyn accent as the “two yutes”.  The puzzled judge asks Vinny to clarify with Vinny retorting, “Oh, excuse me, your honor, two YOUTHS.”

With school out for summer, many employers will be hiring YOUTHS for seasonal help.  Federal and state laws establish safety standards and restrictions for young workers.  The Department of Labor prohibits workers under the age of 18 from working in occupations deemed hazardous.  For example, young workers under18 are banned from working in coal mines and are not allowed to operate balers, compactors, power-driven woodworking machinery, hoists, metal-forming, punching, and shearing equipment. 

OSHA has a section on their website dedicated to Young Workers that posts these alarming statistics:

  •  Every 9 minutes, a U.S. teen gets hurt on the job
  •  There were 106,170 young workers injured in 2011
  • 331 young workers were killed in 2011

Clearly, young workers have rights on the job and employers have an obligation to provide a safe workplace so youths have a safe and rewarding work experience. 

For more information on rules pertaining to young workers check out the Dept. of Labor’s Youth Rules! website.

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