Fire Fighting, Logging, and Mill Work – 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 the following occupations because they have been deemed to be particularly hazardous for them or detrimental to their health of well-being, except in the situations describe below:

  • forest fighting and forest fire prevention
  • timber tracts
  • forestry services
  • logging
  • operations of a sawmill, lath mill, shingle mill, or cooperage stock mill

29 CFR 570.54(a)()




Exceptions

Youth who are 16 and 17 years old may work in the occupations described above in the following situations:

  • in offices or in repair or maintenance shops
  • in the construction, operation, repair, or maintenance of living and administrative quarters, including logging camps and fire fighting base camps
  • in the repair or maintenance of roads, railroads, or flumes and work in the construction and maintenance of telephone lines, but only if the minors are not engaged in the operation of power-driven machinery, the handling or use of explosives, the felling or bucking of lumber, the collecting or transporting of logs, or work on trestles
  • performs the following forest fire prevention, so long as they are not performed in conjunction with or in support of efforts to extinguish forest fires:
    • construction, maintenance, and patrolling fire lines;
    • piling and burning slash;
    • maintaining fire fighting equipment; and
    • acting as a fire lookout or fire patrolman
  • in forest marketing and forest economics when performed away from the forest
  • in feeding or caring for animals
  • in peeling fence posts, pulpwood, chemical wood, excelsior wood, cordwood, or similar products, when not done in conjunction with and at the same time and place as other logging occupation that are not permitted
  • the following occupations in permanent sawmills, lath mills, shingle mills, and cooperage stock mills, but not portable sawmills, where work does not require the youth to enter the sawmill building (except where specifically permitted for youth eligible for the the exception for traditional workworking in religious sects):
    • straightening, marking, or tallying lumber on the dry chain or the dry drop sorter
    • pulling lumber from the dry chain, except minors under 16 years of age may not pull lumber from the dry chain
    • cleaning up the lumber yard
    • piling, handling, or shipping cooperage stock in yards or storage sheds other than operating or assisting in the operation of power-driven equipment (applies on to 16 and 17 year olds, not youth under 16)
    • clerical work in yards or shipping sheds, such as work done by ordermen, tally-men, or shipping clerks
    • cleaning up outside shake and shingle mills, unless the mill is in operation
    • splitting shakes manually from pre-cut and split blocks with a froe and mallet, except in side the mill building or cover
    • packing shakes into bundles when done in conjunction with splitting shakes manually. except inside the mill building or cover
    • manually loading bundles of shakes into trucks or railroad cars, so long as the employer has on file a statement from a licensed doctor of medicine or osteopathy certifying that the minor is capable of performing the work (applies on to 16 and 17 year olds, not youth under 16)

29 CFR 570.54(a)



Forest fighting and forest fighting prevention occupations

For purposes of the child labor restrictions discussed in this section, occupations that fall in the categories of forest fighting and forest fighting prevention include:

  • controlling and extinguishing firest
  • wetting down areas or extinguishing spot fires
  • patrolling burned areas to assure the fire has been extinguished
  • piling and burning slash
  • clearing fire trails and roads
  • constructing, maintaining, and patrolling fire lines
  • acting as a fire lookout or fire patrolman
  • maintaining fire fighting equipment

29 CFR 570.54(b)



Forestry service occupations

For purposes of the child labor restrictions discussed in this section, occupations that fall in the category of forestry service include:

  • work involved in supporting timber production, wood technology, forestry economics and marketing, and forest protection
  • timber cruising, surveying, or logging-engineering parties
  • estimating timber
  • timber valuation
  • forest pest control
  • reforestation

Forestry service occupations do not include the following:

  • the the gathering of forest products such as balsam needles, ginseng, huckleberry greens, maple sap, moss, Spanish moss, sphagnum moss, teaberries, and tree seeds
  • the distillation of gum, turpentine, and rosin if carried on at the gum farm
  • the extraction of pine gum

29 CFR 570.54(b)



Logging occupations

For purposes of the child labor restrictions discussed in this section, occupations that fall in the category of logging include, but are not limited to:

  • felling timber
  • bucking or converting timber into logs, poles, piles, ties, bolts, pulpwood, chemical wood, excelsior wood, cordwood, fence posts, or similar products
  • collecting, skidding, yarding, loading, transporting, and unloading timber products in connection with logging
  • constructing, repairing, and maintaining roads, railroads, flumes, or camps used in connection with logging
  • moving, installing, rigging, and maintaining machinery or equipment used in logging

29 CFR 570.54(b)



Sawmill, lath mill, shingle mill, and cooperage stock mill occupations

For purposes of the child labor restrictions discussed in this section, occupations that fall in the categories of sawmill, lath mill, shingle mill, and cooperage mill include, but are not limited to:

  • work performed in or about any mill in connection with storing of logs or bolts
  • converting logs or bolts into sawn lumber, lathers, shingles, or cooperage stock
  • storing, drying, and shipping lumber, laths, shingles, cooperage stock, or other mill products

Sawmill, lath mill, shingle mill, and cooperage stock mill occupations do not include work in the planing-mill department, or other remanufacturing department.
29 CFR 570.54(b)



Timber tract occupations

For purposes of the child labor restrictions discussed in this section, occupations that fall in the category of timber tract include, but are not limited to:

  • work performed in or about establishments that cultivate, manage, or sell standing timber
  • work performed in timber culture, timber tracts, and timber-stand improvement
  • work performed on tree farms, except tree farms established under 29 US Code 203(f)

29 CFR 570.54(b)



Inside or outside the place of business

Inside or outside a place of business means the actual physical location of the entity employing the minor, including the buildings and surrounding land necessary to business operations. 29 CFR 570.54(b)



Operating or assisting in the operation of power-driven woodworking machines

Operating or assisting in the operation of power-driven woodworking machines includes supervising or controlling the machines operation, feeding or helping feeed material into machines, unloading or helping unload material from machines, and setting up, adjusting, repairing, oiling, or cleaning machines. 29 CFR 570.54(b)



Portable sawmill

A portable sawmill means a sawmilling operation where no office or repair or maintenance shop it regularly maintained. Additionally, any lumberyard associated with the operations is used only for the temporarily storing green lumber. 29 CFR 570.54(b)



Power-driven woodworking machines

Power-driven woodworking machines are defined as all fixed or portable power-driven machines used for cutting, shaping, forming, surfacing, nailing, stapling, wire stitching, fastening or otherwise assembling, pressing, or printing wood, veneer, trees, logs, or lumber. 29 CFR 570.54(b)



Remanufacturing department

A remanufacturing department is a department where previously cut lumber is remanufactured into boxes, lawn furniture, and other products. The work is similar to work performed in planin mills. It does not include operations in sawmills where rough lumber is cut to dimensions. 29 CFR 570.54(b)



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.