Similarly, excavation work involving trenches more than four feet deep is considered hazardous work as well under the FLSA. Other hazardous excavation work includes working within tunnels and shafts prior to the completion of all driving and shoring operations.
All occupations in roofing operations have been declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor. This includes all roofing work performed in connection with the application of weatherproofing materials and substances such as tar or pitch, asphalt prepared paper, and shingles. Prohibited roofing work does not include gutter and downspout work, the construction of the sheathing or base of roofs, or the installation of television antennas, air conditioners, exhaust and ventilating equipment, or similar appliances attached to roofs.
Violation of the child labor rules under the FLSA can result in substantial civil and criminal penalties. Employers that commit child labor violations may be subjected to civil monetary penalties of up to $11,000 for each employee that is the subject of a child labor violation. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) may seek injunctive relief in federal court to stop the violations. Willful violations of the child labor rules can lead to criminal prosecution, carrying penalties of fines and imprisonment. The DOL is also authorized to file a "hot goods" action in federal court to prevent an employer from shipping any product that was produced in violation of child labor laws.
Adoption of the 18-year minimum age requirement is a fail-safe strategy for eliminating the risk of violating the hazardous occupation prohibitions of child labor laws. Besides eliminating the risk of civil and criminal prosecution, this simple strategy totally eliminates the risk of fatal injuries to minors. The 18-year minimum age requirement not only makes the overall worksite safer for everyone, but it positively impacts an employer's financial bottom line by eliminating the direct and indirect costs associated with on-the-job injuries. These savings will be reflected in employers' costs for various insurance coverage, including health insurance and workers compensation insurance. In Summary, adoption of the FLSA's 18-year minimum age requirement is a win-win proposition for the employer and every employee at the job site.
G. Mark Jodon, a shareholder in the Houston office of Littler Mendelson, the nation's largest employment and labor law firm, and is board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mark can be reached at (713) 652-4739 or firstname.lastname@example.org.