Department of Labor Considers Allowing Younger Workers to Do Hazardous Jobs

Department of Labor Considers Allowing Younger Workers to Do Hazardous Jobs

A top Democratic congressman is asking tough questions about why the Department of Labor is considering an expansion of hazardous jobs that 16- and 17-year-olds can do.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who also is deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, penned a letter to Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta in May about the proposed rule on the Spring 2018 agenda for the agency called ‘Expanding Apprenticeship and Employment Opportunities to 16- and 17-Year Olds Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Currently, FLSA does not allow these teenaged workers to perform certain dangerous jobs outside of the agriculture field. But it does provide some exemptions for student learners and apprentices who are working under certain conditions. The Department of Labor is considering whether it should allow ‘Hazardous Occupations Orders’ to be updated and to allow for apprenticeship and student learner programs.

Ellison’s letter stated that current Hazardous Occupations Orders do not allow younger workers to work in hazardous conditions such as coal mining and fighting fires. He noted that because of these laws, work-related fatalities among teenagers have dropped to only 27 per year in 2016 from 72 per year in 2000.

Ellison contended in his letter that rolling back these regulations could endanger young workers and cause a hike in the number of workplace fatalities for teenagers.

Should Teenagers Be Allowed to Work in Hazardous Occupations?

As personal injury attorneys, The Mann Law Firm knows that more than 4,000 workers die on the job every year. Millions more workers suffer serious injuries. Fortunately, the worker’s compensation system in Georgia ensures that injured workers receive worker’s compensation benefits. There is not any requirement that the injured worker must prove any safety standard violations to get these benefits, which typically cover medical expenses and lost wages.

It is highly debatable whether young workers should be able to work in dangerous jobs such as mining or fighting forest fires. These are hazardous occupations, and workers that young may not have the judgment and maturity to avoid some of the hazards of working in such environments. In our work as worker’s compensation attorneys, we have seen workers suffer many serious injuries at work, such as:

  • Sprains, tears and strains of muscles, joints and ligaments
  • Bone fractures
  • Lacerations and cuts
  • Amputations
  • Thermal burns and heat injuries
  • Chemical burns
  • Tendonitis
  • Back pain.

Our attorneys think jobs such as firefighting, coal mining and other dangerous occupations should probably be left to adults who better understand the risks involved in these jobs.

Were You Injured On the Job? Speak to a Workplace Accident Attorney Today

If you or a teenaged loved one was hurt on the job in Georgia, you may be entitled to compensation through a worker’s compensation or personal injury claim. Injuries on hazardous job sites can be severe, and if your employer was negligent, you could be entitled to lost wages, medical costs and more. For more information, please contact the Mann Law Firm for a free consultation today.