Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) child labor provisions are designed to protect minors by restricting the types of jobs and the number of hours they may work.
A minor is any person under the age of 18, except a person who has received a high school diploma or a passing score on the General Equivalency Degree (GED) examination.
The secretary of labor has determined that some jobs are out of bounds for teens below the age of 18. Generally, they may not work at hazardous jobs that include the following:
- Driving a motor vehicle and being an outside helper on a motor vehicle
- Excavation operations
- Exposure to radioactive substances and to ionizing radiations
- Manufacturing or storing explosives
- Power-driven circular saws, band saws and guillotine shears
- Power-driven hoisting equipment
- Power-driven metal-forming, punching and shearing machines
- Power-driven wood-working machines
- Roofing operations
- Wrecking, demolition and ship-breaking operations
- General Restrictions - No employer shall be permitted to work a minor more than 40 hours in a week or more than eight hours in any 24-hour period.
- Nighttime Restrictions - Except for babysitters, no minor under the age of 16 shall be permitted to work between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless the next day is not a school day. An exception to this rule is a minor employed as an actor, model or performer.
- School Day Restrictions - On school days, during school hours, no minor under the age of 16 shall be permitted employment except as provided by a school release permit. After school hours no minor under the age of 16 shall be permitted to work in excess of six hours unless the next day is not a school day.
Youth Labor Laws
When both federal and state laws apply, the more stringent standard must be observed.
Safe Workplace Resources
Summer's Hot-Campaign to Beat the Heat: If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, which killed more than 30 workers last year. OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training.
Youth @ Work: Teaching Youth About Safety In The Workplace Curriculum for Colorado: The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and the Young Worker Safety Resource Center at the University of California, Berkeley have state-specific youth safety curriculum which can be downloaded from their website.
OSHA 11 Curriculum: A 10-hour curriculum appropriate for young workers and includes an additional hour on child labor laws.
Engaging Employers in Protecting Young Workers: Tips and Best Practices from the Young Worker Safety Resource Center: This 24-page guide provides strategies that young worker safety advocates in state and local agencies and organizations can use to increase employers' knowledge and capacity to prevent workplace injuries among youth workers.
National Children’s Center For Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety: This Center funded by NIOSH and the Federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau strives to enhance the health and safety of all children exposed to hazards associated with agricultural work and rural environments.