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Proposed Changes to Child Agricultural Labor Regulations. Claire Layman, Public Policy Education Specialist Stan Moore, Dairy Educator. Chat Pod. Where have you received your information about these proposed regulations?. Regulations v. statue.

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proposed changes to child agricultural labor regulations

Proposed Changes to Child Agricultural Labor Regulations

Claire Layman,

Public Policy Education Specialist

Stan Moore,

Dairy Educator

chat pod
Chat Pod

Where have you received your information about these proposed regulations?

regulations v statue
Regulations v. statue
  • Statues governing child labor found under the Fair Labor Standards Act
  • FLSA prohibits employment of youth (<18) in hazardous occupations, but makes exceptions for youth (16-17 year olds) in Ag hazardous occupations.
  • Further allowances made for 14-15 year-olds in agriculture under Code of Federal Regulations, administered by the Department of Labor
  • Proposed regulations must be open for public comment for a specific time
  • Safety regulations for young hired farm workers have been in place since the 1970’s.
  • DOL says want to bring safety standards for ag youth workers up to the same standards as non-ag youth workers.

During the 1990s, about 4% of all working youth were employed in agriculture (including forestry and fishing), but they experienced over 40% of the youth occupational fatalities.

(Source: Government Accounting Office Report 98-193, Child Labor in Agriculture, August 1998, pp. 22-23).

  • Fatalities among young people working in agriculture are most likely to occur among the very youngest workers.
  • About three-fourths of occupational fatalities in self-employed jobs were in agriculture and more than half the deaths in agriculture occurred in family businesses.

(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Report on the Youth Labor Force [2000], p. 58.)

  • “Young hired farm workers”– age 14 and 15
  • 16 and 17 year olds and up allowed to work without hours or time restrictions, with few exceptions
  • Estimated 56,000 youth to whom these regulations would apply
  • Does not include youth covered under the parental exemption provision of the FLSA
  • DOL says the intent all along has been to exempt only the youth who are directly supervised by a parent.
  • “Person standing in parent” also could use parental exemption.
  • “Hired” = in an “employment relationship”
  • Current regulations say “employ” means to suffer or permit to work.
  • Proposed regs point to a definition of “employment relationship” in a DOL document excludes volunteer work or work done that is mostly educational and for the benefit of the participant
parental exemption con t
Parental Exemption, con’t
  • “Parent or person standing in place of a parent” must directly supervise youth.
  • “Person standing in place of a parent” must be responsible for the youth’s “rearing, safety, health, and well-being.”
  • Corporation, school, institution or nonprofit cannot count as a parent figure. Must be a human being.
for example
For example

14-year-old staying with grandparents for the summer. They pay her to work on their farm.

Meet the parental exemption standard?

for example12
For example
  • Example: youth raising sheep on 4-H leader’s farm, who sells the animal at fair for a profit
  • Would this youth fall under the proposed regulations? (can respond in chat pod)
for example13
For example

16-year-old works on a farm jointly owned by his parents and his aunt and uncle. The youth does not live on the farm. His uncle operates the farm and supervises the youth.

Would he be subject to these regulations?

two non ag regulations farm product wholesale trade industry
Two, Non-Ag Regulations:Farm-Product Wholesale Trade Industry
  • Prohibit youth under 18 from working in the “farm product raw-material wholesale trade industry”: commercial silos, feedlots, and grain elevators and bins, feed lots, feed yards, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.
      • Would not include office work, or sorting, weighing, packaging and shipping fruits and vegetables.
two way communication
Two-way communication

2. Would prohibit use of two-way communication devices when operating or assisting operation of machinery.

  • Includes talking, listening, or participating in an electronic conversation, using or accessing the Internet, sending or receiving text messages, email, chats, instant messages, playing video games or entering data into a GPS. Does not include listening to music or other info on one-way, non-interactive device, such as Ipod, as long as device is being operated hands-free without earbuds.
safety standards for tractors
Safety Standards for tractors
  • Would apply only to those tractors driven by young hired farm workers who fall under student learner exemption
  • Ag tractor would have to be equipped with roll-over protection and seatbelts, and met OSHA standards.
non ag tractors power driven machinery
Non-Ag tractors, power-driven machinery
  • Young hired farm workers would not be permitted to operate or assist in operating any power machinery, including battery-powered or animal-powered machinery.
  • Power machinery would include almost everything, excluding office machines and lawn and garden tractors.
  • Operating would include anything that involved contact with the machinery.
  • Consistent with prohibition found in non-ag regulations.
prohibited power equipment no student learner exemption
Prohibited Power Equipment, no student learner exemption

automobiles, buses, or trucks, including serving as an outside helper on such motor vehicles; all terrain vehicles, scooters, and motorcycles; trenching or earthmoving equipment, including back hoes and bulldozers; loaders, including skid steer loaders, front end loaders, and Bobcats; milking equipment; potato combines; hoisting equipment, including cranes, derricks, highlift trucks, fork lifts, hoists, and manlifts; woodworking machines; feed grinders; circular, reciprocating, band, and chainsaws; wood chippers and abrasive cutting discs; metal forming, punching, and shearing machines; welding equipment; augers; auger conveyors; conveyors; irrigation equipment; rotary tillers, walking type; crop dryers; and the unloading mechanism of a nongravity-type self-unloading wagon or trailer.

yhfw as passengers
YHFW as passengers

Current regulations do not speak to this.

The proposal would permit minors under 16 to ride as passengers in automobiles, trucks, and buses, on public roads and private property, provided all of the following are met:

  • each minor would have to have his or her own seat in the passenger compartment
  • each seat would have to be equipped with a seat belt, the employer would have to instruct the minors that such belts or other restraining device must be used while riding, and the minor would have to actually use the seat belt.
  • each driver must hold a state driver’s license.
human powered equipment
Human-powered equipment
  • YHFW prohibited from operating or assisting hoisting equipment (such as manlifts and boatswain-chair devices used in grain storage elevators) and conveyers.
  • Would also prohibit YHFM from serving as “spotters” when this equipment is being used
working with or around live animals
Working with or around live animals



YHFW prohibited from being in a yard, pen, or stall with a bull, boar, or stud horse; or with a sow with suckling pigs.

  • Could not be in stall or pen with live, non-castrated animal older than six months.
  • Could not engage in or assist with animal husbandry or activities that inflict pain, such as branding, breeding, dehorning, vaccinating, castrating, or tending to sick animals.
  • Could not herd animals on horseback.
timber operations
Timber Operations



Would prevent YHFW from felling, bucking, skidding, loading or unloading timber, or removing dead tree stumps other than manually.

  • Permits this work if timber is six inches or less in diameter.
working at elevations
Working at elevations



Proposal would expand to include prohibition on roofs; farm structures including silos, grain bins, windmills, and towers; and vehicles, machines, and implements.

Would lower permissible height to 6’

DOL seeking comment on this.

  • Prohibited from working on a ladder or scaffold at an elevation greater than 20’
  • Student learner exemption
construction public utilities wrecking and demo communications
Construction, Public Utilities, wrecking and demo, communications
  • New regulation
  • Would prohibit YHFW from any paid work in the above occupations
  • Would not include office work
work inside a fruit forage grain silos or bins and manure pits
Work inside a Fruit, Forage, Grain Silos or Bins, and Manure Pits



Would expand current regulation to include all work inside these facilities

DOH asking if this should be expanded to include other confined spaces.

  • YHFW can’t work in these facilities if they are designed to maintain an oxygen-free or toxic atmosphere
  • May not work in manure pits
  • May not enter a silo within two weeks after silage added
handling pesticides
Handling Pesticides
  • Would prohibit YHFM from doing any work that the EPA would classify as work performed by a “pesticide handler.”
  • “pesticide” would be define as it is in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
  • Includes mixing, loading, transferring, applying disposing of, handling, cleaning, adjusting and assisting with pesticides or implements that may contain pesticide residue, but does not include any person handling pesticide containers that have been emptied and cleaned according to pesticide product labeling.
employment in ag under adverse conditions
Employment in Ag under Adverse Conditions
  • DOL considering creating a new Ag reg that would limit the exposure of YHFW to extreme temps and/or arduous conditions.
  • Seeking comment from stakeholders on how to best protect young workers from heat-related illness and injury.
how to comment
How to Comment
  • Electronically (strongly encouraged): All comments made will be public, including your name.
  • Snail mail discouraged.
  • Entire document may be found at, as well as directions for submitting by snail mail.
  • Deadline to comment extended until Dec 1, 2011
  • DOL has 60 days to finalize the regulations
more information
More information
  • Current regulations: (go to “Additional Resources” tab, “Agricultural Youth Employment”)
  • DOL Wage and Hour Fact Sheet on proposed rules:
  • Iowa State University, Center for Ag Law and Taxation: (fact sheet)