Nursing Organizations Promote Safe Work for Teens

The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Inc. (AAOHN) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) are addressing the role of occupational and environmental health nurses (OHN) and school nurses (SN) in promoting safe and healthful environments for working youths.

In a joint position statement, AAOHN and NASN maintain that "the needs and abilities of youths differ from those of adults and the work in which youths engage should match their physical, cognitive, emotional and social abilities," and concludes that "it is the responsibility of OHNs and SNs to assume leadership roles in preventing work related injuries and deaths by promoting good health and safety practices among youths."

"Occupational and environmental health nursing is the specialty practice concerned with the health and safety of worker populations and school nursing is the specialty practice committed to advancing the well-being of students," said AAOHN President Susan A. Randolph. "These two groups of healthcare professionals have the collective skills, knowledge and competencies essential for advocating the continued protection of America's youth workers."

Drawing from the respective areas of expertise and knowledge of both OHNs and SNs, AAOHN and NASN will collaborate on developing, managing and implementing strategies to promote safe and healthful work environments for youth workers. Some of these shared strategies include:

  • Promoting school-to-work programs to help youths prepare for and transition to employment.
  • Developing and integrating safety practice curricula and workplace rights in transition to career programs, vocational educational classes, shop, and health classes, etc.
  • Advocating that youths are entitled to safe working conditions and that they should be informed of baseline job safety regardless of the size and type of company.
  • Strongly recommending that youths receive safety and health and child labor law information when they apply for work permits.
  • Serving as resources in raising awareness [of youth worker needs] by providing information and participating in surveillance and education and training programs.
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