Our readers might have noticed ISHN’s articles now allow comments. This month, I want to highlight various ways in which our readers can engage with other readers, share their thoughts on articles as well as participate in discussion questions. 

To comment on any feature articles, news item or product news, you must be registered on our website and logged in. Scroll down to the bottom of the article, and submit your thoughts. I’d love to know what resonates with you. 

Child labor issues

In this issue, columnist Dave Johnson’s article, “Who safeguards the 15-year-old roofer?,” about migrant youth workers and labor laws that may not be protecting them, received the following comment on our website from an OSHA employee in Utah.

“I have worked as a Compliance Officer and then a Consultant at UOSH, the State Plan under OSHA for Utah since 2000. The following are my own observations. 

The worst case that I heard of a child at work that my office has encountered was an 8 year old driving a D-9 Cat earth-moving machine at a construction site in S. Utah in the early 2000's. He had blocks on his feet to reach the pedals and mostly couldn't see out the window. The child was part of a crew from a polygamists' group. My office referred the case to US Dept. of Labor, because child labor laws are their jurisdiction. 

Our office gets calls periodically from the public asking questions about child labor at workplaces. Most people are not aware that OSHA and State Plan States have no jurisdiction over this problem. We are aware of the laws and if we see a violation, we refer it to the US Dept. of Labor who does have jurisdiction. We can cite an OSHA or State Plan standard, if that is being violated, but that's as far as we can go with this issue. OSHA has no standards related to employee age. 

We can only enforce the laws as they are written. We cannot invent new ones. Even if we see something, we can only refer it to the authority having jurisdiction.”


Another chance to interact with ISHN is through our polls: https://www.ishn.com/polls. If you missed any of our past questions, you can still access them all and participate as well as view the results. Some of the answers could surprise you. And if you have any burning questions for our readers, please reach out with your suggestions and you just might see it featured in a future poll. 

Our most recent poll asked, “Does your workplace emphasize goals and performance recognition, or does your workplace have a compliance-focused safety program?”

The results revealed that most workplaces utilize both styles, with 59 percent answering both. Of those who chose one or the other, more said their workplace emphasizes goals and performance recognition over compliance-focused programs. And only 9 percent answered none of the above.