A teenaged employee who was required to operate a press break and sheer cutting machine – in violation of child labor laws – had his thumb partially amputated in a workplace accident.
Federal investigators found that B & M Metals of Murrayville, Georgia violated the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Federal law prohibits workers under the age of 18 from operating power-driven metal forming, punching, and shearing machines, including press breaks and sheer cutting machines.
The 17-year-old was injured while working the press break, resulting in the loss of a small portion of his thumb.
B&M Metals has agreed to comply with the FLSA and has paid civil money penalties totaling $6,000.
"Protecting America's youth from hazards on the job is among the most important duties entrusted to the Wage and Hour Division,” said Eric Williams, the Wage and Hour Division's district director in Atlanta. We take any violation of the child labor laws very seriously and will hold employers accountable. Unfortunately, this young worker was injured, losing part of his thumb, when the incident could have been prevented. Businesses that employ minors are legally and ethically obligated to abide by child labor standards, and to ensure minors are protected on the job.
The youth employment provisions of the FLSA were enacted to ensure that when young people work, the work does not jeopardize their health, well-being or educational opportunities. The FLSA establishes a minimum age of 18 for workers in those nonagricultural occupations that the secretary of labor declares to be particularly hazardous for 16- and 17-year-old workers or detrimental to their health or well-being. Youth ages 14 and 15 may be employed outside of school hours in a variety of nonmanufacturing, non-mining, and nonhazardous jobs for limited periods of time and under specified conditions. These rules must be followed unless a specific exemption applies. Working youth are generally entitled to the same minimum wage and overtime protections as older workers.
For general information about the federal youth employment provisions, visit our YouthRules! website at www.youthrules.dol.gov, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243); the Atlanta District Office at 678-237-0521 or visit http://www.dol.gov/whd/.