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National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety: agricultural child labor hazardous occupations orders: comparison of present rules with 2011 proposed revisions.

Marshfield, WI: Marshfield Clinic, 2011 Sep; :1-4
A century ago, child labor in the U.S. was an accepted practice across all industries. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 took children under 16 out of most workplaces for their own safety and over time has restricted the most hazardous work activities for 16- and 17-year-olds. Agriculture has been the lone exception. Originally, most farms were small family operations and child labor was considered necessary. The 21st century agricultural work environment is much different. Farms are larger and more specialized, with new technologies, processes, machinery and equipment. Now the U.S. Department of Labor is proposing new rules regarding the Agricultural Child Labor Hazardous Occupations Orders (Ag H.O.). The agricultural H.O.s describe work activities that are particularly hazardous to young workers under age 16, such as operating machinery and working in and around silos and grain handling facilities. The proposed changes will be the first update since 1970. They are based on a comprehensive evaluation conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which reported on its evaluation in 2002 and made recommendations concerning both non-agricultural and agricultural hazardous occupations orders. As a result of the report, regulations for non-agricultural HOs were revised and became effective in 2010. Recommendations to bring the agricultural H.O.s more closely in line with non-agriculture are included in the recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. For example, the use of power-driven equipment, which has been prohibited for 14- and 15-year-olds employed in non-agricultural industries for over 50 years, is included in the proposal. NOTE: The updated rules would continue to exempt family farms and do not provide protections for 16- and 17-year-olds. Both of these changes would require an act of Congress.
Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Occupational-hazards; Children; Safety-education; Families; Farmers; Injury-prevention; Regulations; Law-enforcement; Legislation; Hazards; Health-hazards; Standards; Age-factors; Age-groups; Work-practices; Job-analysis; Grain-elevators; Machine-operation
Mary E. Miller, R.N., M.N., Child Labor/Young Worker Specialist Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, Employment Standards Program, P.O. Box 44510, Olympia, WA 98504-4510
Publication Date
Document Type
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement; Agriculture
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety: Fact Sheet
Performing Organization
Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division