Explosive Manufacturing and Storage – 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 plants or establishments manufacturing or storing explosives or articles containing explosive components because they have been deemed to be particularly hazardous for them or detrimental to their health of well-being. The following is a list of occupations that fall within the classifications of occupations in or about plants or establishments manufacturing or storing explosives or articles containing explosive components:

  • occupations in or about plants or establishments (other than retail establishments) that manufacture or store explosives or articles containing explosive components, except where the occupation is performed in non-explosive areas
  • occupations in or about plants or establishments that manufactures or stores small-arms ammunition not exceeding .60 caliber in size, shotgun shells, or blasting caps including:
    • occupations involving manufacturing, mixing, transporting, or handling explosive compounds in the manufacture of small-arms ammunition and all other occupations requiring youth to perform duties in the explosive area where explosive compounds are manufactured or mixed
    • occupations involving manufacturing, transporting, or handling primers and all other occupations requiring youth to perform duties inthe same building in which primers are manufactured
    • occupations involving priming of cartridges and all other occupations requiring youth to perform duties in the same workroom in which rim-fire cartridges are primed
    • occupations involving plate loading of cartridges and the operation of automatic loading machines
    • occupations involving loading, inspecting, packing, shipping, and storage of blasting caps

29 CFR 570.51(a)




Plant or establishment

For purposes of this limitation on youth employment, plant or establishment means the land with all the buildings and other structures used in connection with the manufacturing, processing, or storing of explosives or articles containing explosive components. 29 CFR 570.51(b)(1)



Non-explosive area of a plant or establishment

Minors 16 and 17 years of age may work in nonexplosive areas in or about plants or establishments that manufacture or stor explosives or articles containing explosive components. To qualify as a nonexplosive area, the following criteria must be met:

  • none of the work performed in the area involves the handling of or use of explosives;
  • the area is separated from the explosive area by a distance not less than that prescribed in the American Table of Distances for the protection of inhabited building;
  • the area is separated from the explosives area by a fence or is otherwise located so that it constitutes a definite designated area; and
  • satisfactory controls have been established to prevent employees under 18 years of age within the area from entering any area in or about the plant which does not meet criteria above.

29 CFR 570.51(b)(3)



Explosive and articles containing explosive components

Explosive and articles containing explosive components includes, but is not limited to:



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.