Teen and Young Worker Safety & Health

Teen workers are a vulnerable population with unique needs, including different learning styles. Many have little to no experience in the workplace. This can lead to exposures to serious hazards while working.

Employers who hire teen workers (workers younger than 18) need to provide safety training that is specific and targeted to hazards in their industry to ensure they understand what necessary measures are in place to protect them. A list of prohibited duties, as required under law, is important for teen workers, and employers, to understand.

This page provides safety and health resource information for employers, supervisors, and teen workers to keep everyone safe and working.


The minimum legal age to work in Washington State is 14 years old with exception to certain agricultural jobs in which minors ages 12-13 can hand-harvest berries, bulbs, cucumbers, and spinach during weeks that school is not in session.

To hire anyone under the age of 18 in Washington, there are specific laws and rules employers must follow. Employers are also subject to federal child labor requirements.

Young worker ages 18-25 are at a higher risk level of being injured on the job because teen prohibited duty rules do not apply but the employer is still required to provide to ALL workers, which includes teens, a workplace free from serious recognized hazard and provide training about workplace hazards and required personal protective equipment.

Requirements & Policies

General requirements for teen workers

To keep teen workers safe and healthy, youth under the age of 18 are prohibited from certain duties on the job. Prohibited duties vary depending on the worker’s age and whether the job is agricultural or non-agricultural. See the Prohibited Duties page to learn about these limitations. 

See How to Hire Minors to learn about the requirements for hiring workers younger than 18. The minimum legal age to work in Washington State is 14 years old, with some exceptions. Special considerations for teen workers include:

Specific rules for hiring teens

Other safety and health rules that may apply

Training & Resources

Meeting Workplace Safety & Health Requirements

All employers in Washington state must have a written Accident Prevention Program (APP). Employers that hire workers younger than age 18 may want to document ways to ensure young workers are not allowed to perform duties that are prohibited for workers younger than 18.

Use the optional resources below to build and strengthen your workplace safety program, and keep teen workers safe and healthy.



L&I Publications

Handouts, checklists and guidelines

Teen Worker Safety Campaign

A national campaign effort to increase awareness and promote workplace safety and health resources for teen workers.

Gov. Jay Inslee has proclaimed June, 2022  "Safe Jobs for Youth Month." We all play a role in youth safety at work, employers, teens, and parents. From May through August, and again from November through December, Teen Worker Safety & Health campaigns emphasize the importance of keeping teens safe and healthy as they begin life in the working world. 

More help from L&I: