Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Tuff Automation Inc. has paid a civil money penalty of $28,474 after a 17-year-old employee suffered an amputation of his right index finger while operating an unguarded band saw at the Grand Rapids, Michigan, manufacturing facility. The minor also suffered significant nerve damage to his right middle finger.

WHD investigators found the company violated the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by employing a worker under the age of 18 to operate prohibited hazardous equipment.

"Child labor laws ensure minors can gain a positive and safe work experience that does not interfere with their education, health, and well-being," said Mary O'Rourke, Wage and Hour District Director in Grand Rapids. "Child labor violations can be avoided when employers understand the rules and familiarize key business personnel about such rules prior to hiring minors. We encourage employers and school districts issuing work permits to contact us for guidance, and use the wide variety of tools we offer to help them comply with the law."

For more information about the FLSAchild labor provisions and other laws enforced by WHD, contact the Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.