Federally Prohibited Occupations for Minors

Under 18 Years of Age

In addition to the State rules about dangerous jobs, there are 17 Federal Hazardous Orders in Non-Agricultural Occupations that forbid hiring minors under 18 for interstate commerce.

These orders apply to the following jobs:

  1. In or about plants that manufacture or store explosives or articles that contain explosives
  2. Motor vehicle driver and outside helper
  3. Coal-mining occupations
  4. Logging and/or operating any sawmill, lath mill, shingle mill, or cooperage-stock mill
  5. Operating power-driven wood-working machines
  6. With exposure to radioactive substances and to ionizing radiation
  7. Running elevators and other power-driven hoisting machines (However, minors 16 and 17 years old may operate and ride on automatic enclosed elevators.)
  8. Running power-driven metal-forming, punching and shearing machines
  9. In connection with mining, other than coal
  10. Slaughtering, meatpacking, rendering or involving the operation, setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling, wiping, or repairing of a meat slicer
  11. Running power-driven bakery machines
  12. Operating certain power-driven paper products machines
  13. Making brick, tile, and kindred products
  14. Running power-driven circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears
  15. Wrecking, demolition, and ship-breaking operations
  16. Roofing
  17. 17. Excavation

(NOTE: Orders 5,8,10,12,14,16 and 17 contain exemptions for 16 and 17 year-old apprentices and student learners, and high school graduates who have completed training as student learners, when they work under set conditions.)

Under 16 Years of Age

In addition, Federal regulations issued under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act forbid minors under 16 to work in the following jobs at firms covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act:

  • Operating or tending hoisting apparatus or power-driven machinery other than office machines
  • Public messenger service
  • Occupations in connection with transportation of persons or property, warehousing and storage, communications and public utilities, and construction, except office and sales work not involving duties on a means of transportation or at a construction site
  • Any form of mining
  • Processing food such as filleting fish, dressing poultry, or cracking nuts
  • That take place where goods are manufactured, mined or otherwise processed
  • Any manufacturing occupation
  • Any forbidden job for minor under 18 years of age
  • The use of power-driven mowers or cutters used in the maintenance of grounds
  • In these jobs at a retail, food service, or gasoline service establishment covered by the federal wage and hour laws:
    • Outside window washing from window sills, ladders, or scaffolds
    • Work in boiler or engine rooms
    • Cooking, except at soda fountains and lunch bars
    • Baking
    • Work with power-driven food slicers and grinders, food-choppers and cutters, and bakery-type mixers
    • Work in freezers, meat coolers, and in preparation of meats for sale, (except to wrap, price, seal, label, weigh, and stock meats in other areas
    • Loading and unloading goods to and from trucks, railroad cars and conveyors
    • Maintenance or repair of establishment or machines, except cleanup work in connection with cars or trucks involving use of pits, racks or lifting apparatus, or involving the inflation of any tire mounted on a rim equipped with a movable retaining ring

Farm Labor

In addition, there is a Federal Hazardous Occupations Order covering minors less than 16 years of age engaged in farm work. The federal order sets certain job limits for agricultural workers under the age of 16 who work to produce goods for interstate commerce. The order applies whether or not the minors are covered by federal minimum wage provisions. The order lists 16 forbidden jobs for minors less than 16 years of age, including working with certain power-driven farm machinery, operating a tractor with over 20 PTO horsepower, and working with explosives or certain chemicals.

These rules on child labor on farms DO NOT apply, however, to minors who work on a farm owned or run by their parents or to students in a recognized vocational education training program. In addition, there are exemptions for 4-H members who have completed certain training programs and students in other approved farm training and education programs. For details, contact the nearest office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division. 

Federal Contracts

Minors less than 16 years old may not work in the manufacture or furnishing of any article included in the U.S. Government contract in excess of $10,000 (Federal Public Contracts Act).