Many New Yorkers understand that not all jobs are safe. Many people risk their lives and their health in order to make a living. In today’s economic climate, adults are not the only people going to work to support themselves. There are children — individuals under the age of 18 — that go to work in order to earn money for themselves and their families. These children can be put in situations that put their safety at risk.
However, state and federal laws limit the ability of children to work. These laws are in place to not only ensure that children have enough time away from work to get a proper education, but also serve to keep children safe. In particular, there are federal safety regulations that prevent children from working certain jobs.
According to the New York Department of Labor, children under the age of 18 cannot work in 17 different occupations under federal law. These include coal and other mining operations, jobs that would expose the worker to radioactive substances, meatpacking, slaughtering or roofing. Additionally, people who are under 18 cannot operate certain bakery machines, make bricks or tiles or operate certain power tools. Excavation, logging and demolition jobs are also prohibited.
When a worker is 16-years-old or younger, additional safety regulations are applicable. These workers cannot work as public messengers, process certain foods or perform certain retail jobs.
These lists are not exhaustive and should only be used as general information and not specific legal advice. However, if these rules are ignored by New York employers, even child workers may have legal rights. Workers’ compensation is often available to those hurt in a workplace accident. An attorney can help to explain these rights.