efforts primarily focus on education and training. Such programs include providing occupational health and safety training to adolescents, educating children and their parents about child labor laws, and educating parents about the age-appropriateness of tasks. Educational efforts about child labor laws and age-appropriate tasks also target employers. Other efforts, notably school-to-work programs, focus on making adolescents' work experiences useful, meaningful, and integrated with their school work. Because such programs have not yet been rigorously evaluated, little can be said about their effectiveness. This report would not be complete, however, without some discussion of the efforts to improve the quality of work for children and adolescents.
Lack of awareness of health and safety issues relevant to working children and adolescents—both by the young workers themselves and by adults—has been recognized by a number of organizations as a significant obstacle to preventing injury and illness on the job. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have called for better training and education on issues related to the health and safety of adolescent workers.
Health and safety education for workers has been recognized as an important component of preventing work-related illnesses and injuries (Keyserling, 1995; Komaki et al., 1980; Maples et al., 1982; Office of Technology Assessment, 1985; Wallerstein, 1992; Wallerstein and Weinger, 1992; Zohar et al., 1980). Recent studies indicate, however, that working teens may not be receiving adequate health and safety training on the job. In a survey of 14-to 16-year-olds who had been injured while working, 54 percent reported having received no instruction on how to avoid injuries or how to work safely with the equipment they used (Knight et al., 1995). General surveys of working youth find similar results, with about half of surveyed young workers reporting no health and safety training (Bowling et al., 1998; Runyan et al., 1997).
Not only are children and adolescents not receiving health and safety information, but adults involved with children—parents, teachers, health-care providers, staff members of community organizations—often lack the information necessary to promote the health and safety of youngsters in the workplace. For example, both state and federal regulators report that employers' ignorance of child