Texas Brings Workplace Safety Training to Schools

by Terry Bryant

Around 80% of teens in the United States will work, in some capacity, by the time they graduate high school. Like previous generations, today’s teenagers aren’t afraid to join the workforce at an early age. Even while attending school, many find it necessary to put in several hours, at work each month, to save up for college or to help supplement their family’s income.

But teen workers are also at greater risk for injury and death on the job. Research suggests that teens are twice as likely to be injured on the job than other age groups. Every year, around 60,000 workers ages 15 to 17 seek treatment in emergency departments for an on-the-job injury.

To address this problem, Texas lawmakers have passed legislation encouraging workplace safety training in classrooms. It urges schools to incorporate workplace safety in the curriculum for relevant courses in grades 7 through 12.

Teaching Important Lessons to Young Workers

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) worked with Texas State House Representative Dr. Greg Bonnen to draft the bill, which was signed into law by the governor in June. The AIHA has made the issue of training young workers a priority for several years, notably in their partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to develop the Safety Matters program.

By looking at the content of the Safety Matters program, we get a clearer picture of the lessons Texas students can expect to see in classrooms. The program stresses to students that “work-related injuries and illnesses are predictable and can be prevented.” The program also says that students should be able to “recognize that employers are responsible for, and
workers have the right to, safe and healthy work. Workers also have the responsibility for keeping themselves and co-workers safe.”

Safety Matters encourages students to look at different types of workplace incidents and think critically about the causes and risks of specific examples. This enables young workers to understand that an injury is often the result of several risk factors.

Employers are Still Responsible for Training

Teaching young workers about dangers in the workplace is always a positive thing. The more access these students have to safety training, the better. However, it’s important to think of the curriculum as a supplement to and not a replacement for safety training by employers. Businesses are still responsible for training workers in workplace safety protocol.

Workplace injuries cost workers and businesses billions of dollars every year, and providing adequate training, inspections, and safety protocol can reduce the likelihood of on-the-job injuries. It’s an investment that every business should make.

Most employees are covered by workers’ compensation to provide benefits in the event of a workplace injury. However, not all workers in Texas are covered by workers’ compensation, and those that are covered might still find that the payments they are offered do not truly meet their needs.

If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury in Texas and are considering speaking to an attorney about your case, we encourage you to reach out to our workplace injury attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. We offer free consultations during which we’ll discuss your case to give you a clearer idea of your legal options.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.