Wood Products Processing for 14 and 15 Year Olds – FLSA Child Labor Laws


The Fair Labor Standards Act permits 14 and 15 year olds to work inside and outside places of business where machinery is used to process wood products, subject to certain restrictions, if the youth have been exempt from complusory school attendance beyond 8th grade by statute or court order. 29 CFR 570.34(m) Below is a discussion of the work that may be performed by qualifying minors and the limitations on the work they may perform.

A qualifying 14 or 15 year old may work inside and outside places where wood products are processed using machinery if:

  • the youth is supervised by an adult relative of the youth or is supervised by an adult member of the same religious sect or division as the youth;
  • the youth does not operate or assist in operating the power-driven woodworking machines;
  • the youth is protected from wood particles or other flying debris by a barrier that is appropriate to protect the youth or by maintaining a sufficient distance from machinery when in operation;
  • the youth uses personal protection equipment to prevent exposure to excessive levels of noise and saw dust.

29 CFR 570.34(m)(1); 29 CFR 570.54(c); 29 CFR 570.130




Place of business where wood processing machinery is used

For purposes of this rule, places of business where wood processing machinery is used include permanent workplaces such as sawmills, lath mills, shingle mills, cooperage stock mills, furniture and cabinet making shops, gazebo and shed making shops, toy manufacturing shops, and pallet shops. They do not include portable sawmills, areas where logging is performed, or mining operations. 29 CFR 570.34(m)(3)



Operating or assisting in operating power-driven machines

Operating or assisting in operating power-driven machines includes supervising or controlling the machines operation, feeding or helping feed material into machines, unloading or helping unload material from machines, and setting up, adjusting, repairing, oiling, or cleaning machines. 29 CFR 570.34(m)(3)



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 570.34(m)(3)



Adult relative

An adult relative may includes a parent, grandparent, sibling, uncle, or aunt who are 18 years old or older and who professes membership in the same religious sect or division as the youth. The adult relative must direct, monitor, oversee, and control the activities of the youth and the supervision must be close, direct, constant, and uninterrupted. 29 CFR 570.34(m)(3)



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.