The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor is tasked with enforcing child labor laws. States also conduct their own enforcement efforts. In both cases though, a relatively small number of investigators are asked to police millions of employers.

U.S. DOL Fines Two Grain Operators $1.4 million in Death of Two Teens

News Release
OSHA News Release: [01/24/2011]

MOUNT CARROLL, Ill. — The U.S. Department of Labor has fined Haasbach LLC in Mount Carroll and Hillsdale Elevator Co. in Geneseo and Annawan, Ill., following the deaths of three workers, including two teenagers. The workers were killed when they suffocated after being engulfed by grain.

“The tragic deaths of three people could have been prevented had the grain bin owners and operators followed the occupational safety standards and child labor laws,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “It is unconscionable to allow a minor to work in any high-hazard area. Haasbach’s and Hillsdale’s disregard for the law and commonsense safety practices has led to devastation for three families.”

At least 25 U.S. workers were killed in grain entrapments last year, and the numbers of entrapments are increasing, according to researchers at Purdue University. There were more grain entrapments in 2010 than in any year since they started collecting data on entrapments in 1978.

Read more

Despite problems, egg farmer embraced by local governments Central figure in recall has history of run-ins with regulators

By Andrew Zajac, Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau

8:23 PM EDT, August 27, 2010/WASHINGTON

Long before Austin “Jack” DeCoster became a central figure in one of the largest egg recalls in history, he had paid more than $10 million in fines and lawsuit settlements, his eggs were banned in one state and quarantined in another, and he was almost single-handedly responsible for new restrictions on child labor in his native Maine.

Read more

State vs. Federal Child Labor Laws: Which Apply?

There are child labor laws, both state and federal, that regulate the hours of work, types of jobs, and working conditions of children and adolescents.

Every state has a child labor law, usually enforced by a state labor department.  These laws vary in the level of protection afforded young workers for both agriculture and nonagricultural employment.  In other words, there exists differences in the level of protection and the requirements of child labor laws from state to state.

Additionally, within any state law, there may be some provisions that are more or less restrictive than provisions of the federal child labor law.

Which law applies:

  • Be aware that there is often extensive overlap in coverage with the state and federal child labor laws.  Employers in a state are required to follow the state child labor laws.  Many businesses (not all) are required to follow the federal child labor law as well.
  • If both the state and federal child labor law applies to the same employment situation, the more stringent standard of the two must be obeyed.
Read the rest

New rule impacts young workers at nursing homes

His hours were cut because of a change in federal child labor laws that prohibit teens from operating patient lifts. As a result, nursing homes like St.
See all stories on this topic »Read the rest