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November 4, 2008    DOL Home > Compliance Assistance > By Topic > Safety and Health >
Youth Worker Safety and Health

Safety and Health in the Workplace:

Youth Worker Safety and Health

 Frequently Asked Questions


Congress sought to promote the safety, health, well-being, and opportunities for the education of young workers by including the child labor provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA sets limits on the hours youth under the age of 18 may work and the occupations in which such young workers may be employed. The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Employment Standards Administration's (ESA) Wage and Hour Division, through its enforcement and administration of the FLSA, has primary responsibility for the protection of young workers. All Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules also apply to young workers. Youth under age 18 cannot work in the mining industry. All states have rules concerning the employment of young workers. When federal and state standards are different, the rules that provide the most protection to young workers apply.






Every employer covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) who has more than 10 employees, except for employers in certain low-hazard industries in the retail, finance, insurance, real estate, and service sectors, must maintain specific records of job related injuries and illnesses.

The OSHA Form 300 is an injury/illness log, with a separate line entry for each recordable injury or illness. Such events include work related deaths, injuries, and illnesses other than minor injuries that require only first aid treatment and that do not involve medical treatment, loss of consciousness, restriction of work, or transfer to another job. Each year, the employer must conspicuously post in the workplace a Form 300A, which includes a summary of the previous year's work-related injuries and illnesses. Employers must also record individual incident reports that provide added detail about each specific recordable injury or illness. OSHA Web page on Recordkeeping.

The FLSA does not require that youth get work permits or working papers to get a job. However, some states do require work permits prior to getting a job. School counselors may be able to advise if a work permit is needed before getting a job.



  • State laws - Provides links to state laws and information concerning youth employment.


  • For questions on other DOL laws,
    please call DOL's Toll-Free Help Line at 1-866-4-USA-DOL. Live assistance is available in English and Spanish, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Additional service is available in more than 140 languages through a translation service.
    Tel: 1-866-4-USA-DOL
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627

*Pursuant to the U.S. Department of Labor's Confidentiality Protocol for Compliance Assistance Inquiries, information provided by a telephone caller will be kept confidential within the bounds of the law. Compliance assistance inquiries will not trigger an inspection, audit, investigation, etc.

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