• Tips for Businesses


    If your small business hires teenagers for summer, part time or other seasonal jobs it’s important to know the special rules that govern teen workers. At least 160,000 teens suffer work-related injuries or illnesses each year. That can put your business at risk.

    And many injuries occur in businesses you might not think of.  For example, more than 75% of incidents happen in the retail and service industries.

    Young workers – especially those in their first summer jobs – are at greater risk of workplace injury due to inexperience. And also because, well, they are teenagers who may hesitate to ask questions or fail to recognize workplace dangers.

    Some great tips on this topic come from Daniel Kehrer, Founder & Managing Director of BizBest Media Corp. He is a nationally-known, award-winning expert on small and local business, start-ups, content marketing, entrepreneurship and social media, with an MBA from UCLA/Anderson. Here are some of his suggestions about hiring teens.

    1. Review federal and state laws on teen employment — especially the rules on what types of jobs teens are not allowed to perform.  Many small businesses, and especially those just starting out, aren’t sure what’s required of them, or where to look for help. A search for “child labor rules” at www.dol.gov will get you to the right place.

    2. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and child labor rules affecting full- and part-time workers in the private sector. The rules vary depending on the age of the young worker and his or her duties. But two things are certain: a) Once an employee is 18, there are no Federal child labor rules, and; b) Federal child labor rules do not require work permits.

    3. Dozens of private suppliers sell OSHA compliance materials. But your best starting point is OSHA’s small business website which offers abundant assistance.  Visit: www.osha.gov/smallbusiness. Check out the Compliance Assistance Quick Start section which helps new small businesses understand the rules and find the right resources.

    4. The Department of Labor has a special website devoted to the rules of youth employment called Youth Rules at www.youthrules.dol.gov.  Here you’ll find information and links to almost everything you need to know about both federal and state rules and limits on the hours teens are allowed to work, and jobs they can perform, including key information on age requirements, wages and resources for young workers.

    5. Another helpful government site called Young Workers has a wide range of information on summer job safety for specific sectors such as construction, landscaping, parks and recreation, life guarding and restaurants. Under landscaping, for example, you’ll find tips on preventing injury from pesticides, electrical hazards, noise and many others. Visit: www.osha.gov/SLTC/teenworkers. The small business FAQ section at the above site is a must.

    7. Restaurants rank especially high among industries at risk for teen worker injuries.  OSHA has a website devoted to restaurant safety for teen workers, covering areas such as serving, drive-thru, cooking, delivery and others. Visit: www.osha.gov/SLTC/youth/restaurant.

    8.State labor laws can differ. Check the list of State Labor Offices to find the appropriate agency in your state. Visit: www.dol.gov/whd/contacts/state_of.htm.

    You’ll find a wealth of small business-related information, resources, and training, plus free, confidential counseling from more than 11,000 business experts. For more information about contacting a mentor or volunteering contact the Lake of the Ozarks SCORE Chapter at www.LakeoftheOzarks.SCORE.org, by e-mail at admin.0493@scorevolunteer.org or call 573-346-5441.  Serving Camden, Dallas, Hickory, Laclede, Miller, Morgan and Pulaski Counties.