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A Fatal Fall Illustrates the Importance of Child Labor Laws in Alabama

A fatal fall from an Alabama roof illustrates the importance of fall protection, especially when employing underage workers. On July 1, a 15-year-old boy died after falling 40 feet through an unsupported section of roof on a project site in Cullman, AL. Although safety equipment was installed on the roof, police said that it was not being used by workers. It was the victim’s first day on the job. 

Below, a Roofing Lawyer in Alabama will discuss the child labor laws that apply to all projects in Alabama. By following these laws and making safety a priority on your jobsite, you can help prevent tragic accidents like the one that took the life of this young worker. 

Alabama Child Labor Laws 

The roofing industry and the construction industry as a whole is being impacted by a labor shortage. Hiring young and up-and-coming workers is a novel way to bolster a workforce and remain competitive; however, construction companies operating in Alabama must remain compliant with both state and federal child labor laws. In the event that the laws are different, the law that provides the most protection to the young worker takes precedence. 

Related: Dispelling the Myths of Fall Protection

In the State of Alabama, employers are permitted to employ workers under the age of 18, but they must first obtain the appropriate Child Labor Certificates (Class I for minors ages 14 and 15, Class II for minors ages 16 and 17) for each location where the employee will be working. Certificates must be posted in public view. 

Related: Important Considerations for Professional Roofers 


In addition to a number of work time restrictions, underage workers are prohibited from certain hazardous job duties. Prohibited occupations that relate to roofing include but are not limited to: 

  • Participating in any roofing, scaffolding, or sandblasting operations
  • Driving a vehicle over the weight of three tons
  • Operating circular saws, band saws, or guillotine shears 
  • Working near or around asbestos and other cancer-causing agents
  • Working in any place the Alabama Department of Labor declares dangerous for persons under the age of 18

Of note, Alabama Statute §25-8-35 provides that workers under the age of 16 are prohibited from “repairing, painting, or cleaning building or structures while working at the top of ladders, lifts, or scaffolds exceeding a height of six feet.” This is just one of the many prohibited occupations that apply to underage workers. Before you hire underage workers, we recommend consulting a roofing attorney in Alabama to ensure that you remain compliant with state and federal law. Our team of attorneys can keep you informed on not only child labor laws but also safety laws that foster a hazard-free jobsite. 

If you would like to speak with a roofing lawyer in Alabama, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.