Friday, September 02, 2011

Labor Department proposes stricter regulations for child farm labor; families still exempted

In response to grain bin deaths and other farming accidents involving children, the U.S. Department of Labor is proposing tougher regulations for child labor on farms. The revisions would be the first update to the Fair Labor Standards Act since 1970, Molly O'Toole of Reuters reports.

The revisions would include an exemption in place for youth working on a farm owned or operated by their parents, unless the farm is an LLC, in which case the child would be deemed to work for the farm, not the parents, David Bennett of Delta Farm Press reports.

The proposals would ban "children under 16 from cultivating tobacco or operating most power-driven equipment," prohibit them from working with animals, pesticides, timber and raw materials; limit child use of most power-driven equipment; and make grain elevators and bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards and livestock exchanges and auctions "off-limits to nonagricultural workers under 18," O'Toole reports. (Occupational Safety and Health Administration photo)

To see the complete list of proposed revisions, click here. The proposals are open for public comment until Nov. 1; a public hearing will follow, O'Toole reports.

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