The agricultural hazardous occupations orders under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that bar young workers from certain tasks have not been updated since they were promulgated in 1970.
Farmers are being encouraged to submit public comments as soon as possible regarding the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) proposed revisions to child labor regulations.
Touted by DOL as a move "that will strengthen the safety requirements for young workers employed in agriculture and related fields," the reality is that the move discourages development of the work ethic, says Craig Anderson, manager of the Ag Labor and Safety Services division of Michigan Farm Bureau.
The proposal would strengthen current child labor regulations prohibiting agricultural work with animals and in pesticide handling, timber operations, manure pits and storage bins. It would prohibit youth in both agricultural and nonagricultural employment from using electronic devices, including communication equipment, while operating power-driven equipment.