Mining Operations – FLSA Child Labor Laws

The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits employers from employing any child under 18 years of age in occupations in or about mines because they have been deemed to be particularly hazardous for them or detrimental to their health or well-being (for information specific to youth work in coal mines, visit Coal Mining – FLSA Child Labor Laws for 16 and 17-Year-Olds). Occupations in or about mines include:

  • work performed underground in mines and quarries
  • work performed on the surface at underground mines and underground quarries
  • work performed in or about open-cut mines, open quaries, clay pits, and sand and gravel operations
  • work performed at or about placer mining operations
  • work performed at or about dredging operations for clay, sand, or gravel
  • work performed at or about bore-hole mining
  • work performed in or about all metal mills, washer plants, or grinding mills reducing the bulk of the extracted minerals
  • work performed at or about any other crushing, grinding, screening, sizing, washing, or cleaning operations performed on extracted minerals except where the operations are performed as part of a manufacturing process

29 CFR 570.60(a), (b)This prohibition on youth work of 16 and 17-year-olds in occupations in or about mines does not apply to the following:

  • work performed in subsequent manufacturing or processing operations, such as work performed in smelters, electro-metallurgical plants, refineries reduction plants, cement mills, plants where quarried stone is cut, sanded and further processed, or plants manufacturing clay glass or ceramic products
  • work performed in connection with coal mining, in petroleum production, and in natural-gas production (for information specific to youth work in coal mines, visit Coal Mining – FLSA Child Labor Laws for 16 and 17-Year-Olds)
  • work performed in dredging operations which are not a part of mining operations, such as dredging for construction or navigation purposes
  • work in offices, warehouses, supply houses, change houses, laboratories, and repair or maintenance shops not located underground
  • work operating or maintaining living quarters
  • work outside the mine including surveying, repairing and maintaining roads, and general clean-up such as clearing brush and digging drainage ditches
  • work on track crew building and maintaining section of railroad track located in areas of open-cut metal mines where mining and haulage activities are not being conducted at the time and place that such building and maintenance work is being done
  • the following work in metal mills other than in mercury-recovery mills or mills using the cyanide process:
    • work involved in operating jigs, sludge tables, flotation cells, or drier-filters
    • hand-sorting at picking tables or picking belts
    • general clean-up work

29 CFR 570.60(a), (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.