Coal Mining – FLSA Child Labor Laws for 16 and 17 Year Olds


The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits employers from employing any child under 18 years of age in occupations in or about coal mines because they are considered to be particularly hazardous or detrimental to youth health or welfare, except:

  • the occupation of slate or refuse picking at a picking table or picking chute in a tipple or breaker, and
  • occupations requiring the performance of duties solely in offices;
  • occupations requiring the performance of duties soleiy in repair or maintenance shops located in the surface part of the coal-mining plant.

29 CFR 570.53(a)

Coal defined

Coal means any rank of coal including lignite, bituminous, and anthracite coals. 29 CFR 570.53(b)(1)



Occupations in or about coal mines

An occupation in or about coal mines includes all types of work performed in any underground working, open-pit, or surface part of a coal-mining plant that contribute to the extraction, grading, cleaning, or other handling of coal. 29 CFR 570.53(b)(2)


Age certification

Employers who employ minors are not in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor laws if they keep on file unexpired certificates of age for each minor employed which shows the minor is the appropriate age for the work being performed, even if the child turns out not to be the appropriate age. 29 US Code 203(l)(2); 29 CFR 570.5(a); 29 CFR 570.38; 29 CFR 570.121 For more information, visit our page on age certificates.