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Monday, May 28, 2012

Law - More on: "NWI farms face stricter federal rules that ban many tasks for minors"

That is the headline from an April 17, 2012 story in the NWI Times. A quote:

In September, the Labor Department announced it was updating the work rules for those younger than 18 getting jobs on farms. It was the first such update in 40 years, and it has created a corn crib full of consternation and criticism from farm owners across the country because it prohibits minors from doing many farm jobs.

The regulations, which are expected to be finalized this summer, bar minors from working with animals, handling pesticides, and working in timber operations, manure pits and storage bins. Those younger than 16 could not work in the cultivation, harvesting or curing of tobacco or operate almost all power-driven farm equipment.

Among the places considered too dangerous for minors are grain elevators, grain bins, silos, stockyards and livestock exchanges. They could be allowed to drive certain farm devices and tractors with training and if the equipment has proper rollover protection and seat belts.

This morning Brian Mann had a nearly 5-minute story on NPR's Morning Edition that you can listen to here. The intro:
Farm worker advocates and top Obama administration officials have been pushing hard for new regulations that would improve safety for teenagers working on farms. But facing fierce opposition from the agriculture industry and its allies in Congress, the Department of Labor abruptly withdrew a set of rules that advocates said could save dozens of lives every year.
Apparently this withdrawal happened several weeks ago. Here are some quotes from a story from the Drovers Cattle Network, dated May 1, 2012:
While the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) decision to withdraw proposed farm youth labor rules means farm families won't have to take on new requirements for minors to work on their farms, previous legislation still requires young farm workers to have some training, said Ohio State University Extension's state safety leader.

The proposed rules would have banned children younger than 16 from using most power-driven farm equipment without first taking a specific training course. But even with the legislation shelved, Dee Jepsen said all of the discussion has raised awareness of current regulations and likely will mean organizations such as OSU Extension will see more young people signing up for existing training.

"The people have spoken and they don't want the new regulations, but that doesn't mean we don't have any youth safety regulations," she said. "Even though the Labor Department rescinded the stronger proposal, there is still legislation for 14- and 15-year-old students wanting to work outside their parents' farms.

"We want to remind people of those rules and let them know that training is available. It's just as important for farm managers and employers to be sure the students they hire under the age of 16 are trained."

Here is the US DOL news release announcing the withdrawal, dated April 26, 2012.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 28, 2012 09:46 AM
Posted to General Law Related