Proposed Changes to Hazardous Work Orders Affecting Kids

November 16, 2011 09:15 PM

Anyone wanting to comment on the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed changes to the Hazardous Occupations Orders For Agricultural Employment has until the end of the month to do so.

These changes impact children between the ages of 14 and 16 who are hired to work on farms or other agricultural endeavors not owned or operated by their parents. If implemented, the proposed changes would be the first made to the orders in more than three decades.

The six major changes that crop producers need to be aware of are:

  • 14- to 16-year-olds hired to work on farms that are not owned or operated by their parents would be banned from handling pesticides.
  • The tractor-safety certification requirement for these hired workers would be expanded from the current 24 hours of training to 90 hours, but children enrolled in the program—and in good standing—could work while taking the training.
  • The height at which these children could work would be lowered from the current 20 feet to six feet.
  • 14- to 16-year-olds would be banned from working in grain elevators.
  • These kids would not be able to use electronic devices like iPods or cell phones while operating a motor vehicle such as a tractor (GPS is an exception).
  • All motor vehicles operated by these workers must have rollover protection.
The U.S. Department of Labor expects the proposed changes to be implemented sometime in 2012. Penalties for violations would range between zero for minor infractions and $100,000, the maximum allowed by law, in cases that result in a fatality or severe dismemberment.
To read the complete proposal, go to The "Highlights" box has the most recent news on the subject. 
You can post a comment about the law at Comments will be accepted through Nov. 31.
Hear more on the topic from AgDay TV:


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