In this two-part article, the Sarasota construction attorneys at Cotney Construction Law are discussing important child labor laws. In the first part, we covered what job restrictions exist for workers under the age of 18. In this part, we will delve deeper into these restrictions and focus on what restrictions exist for young workers related to the construction industry. Remember, the Department of Labor (DOL) investigates businesses that may be in violation of child labor laws. If you are facing a DOL hearing, consult a legal professional immediately.
What are Some Child Labor Restrictions in Construction?
Workers under the age of 18 are restricted from performing tasks considered hazardous by the Secretary of Labor. If you are interested in reading a full list of these restrictions, please visit youthrules.gov. Some hazardous construction-related tasks include:
- Explosives: It should come as no surprise that minors cannot handle, manufacture, or store explosives. This also includes working on a demolition or wrecking crew.
- Machinery: Minors cannot operate any type of machinery considered dangerous. This includes any type of power-driven saws (circular, band, chain, reciprocating) or wood-working machines.
- Working at Great Heights or Underground: Persons under the age of 18 cannot work in trenching, excavating, or mining positions. Minors are also not permitted to work at great heights. For example, minors cannot work in roofing.
- Motor Vehicles: Workers under 18 cannot operate motor vehicles on the jobsite or perform the work of the outside helper on the motor vehicle.
- Exposure: Minors cannot work in any type of position that presents a potential threat to their health including exposure to radioactive substances or ionizing radiation.
Preventing Child Labor Infractions
Although violating a child labor law may seem unlikely to most employers, countless infractions occur every year resulting from a variety of bad decisions. Here are three ways you can prevent your workforce from committing a violation of federal law:
- Keep Updated Records: Every jobsite needs an automated recordkeeping system that accurately tracks everything from hours worked to the personal information of every employee. It’s critical that you have this system in place and that you document every worker you employ to ensure your DOL compliance.
- Train Managers: Simply documenting your workers isn’t enough. Employers need to train their jobsite supervisors on the tasks that workers under the age of 18 can perform. Site supervisors need to monitor their jobsite and make certain that no minors are performing tasks that are restricted by federal law.
- Educate Your Workforce: It’s also important that the rest of the workforce and the young workers understand these regulations. Jobsites can be chaotic at times with many team members moving around and helping out. It’s important that everyone understands which workers are legally restricted from performing certain tasks.
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.