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14-year-old child illegally working loses hand to pallet machine

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2015 | Workers' Compensation

If you knew a young teen was in your workplace, you’d probably speak up. There are child labor laws in Ohio that restrict working ages to 16 in most cases, so finding a 14-year-old worker on the job would be a red flag.

There are age regulations in the workplace to prevent people from getting hurt when they’re too young to understand the consequences of their actions. On top of that, younger teens should be in school, studying and participating in hobbies and activities, not working strenuous jobs. Sometimes, younger teens are allowed to work in a business as long as they aren’t working with heavy machinery or dangerous equipment. For example, if you’re trying to find your child a job over the summer, an ice cream parlor is a good summer job for younger teens who aren’t yet 16.

In this case reported on July 20, a 14-year-old worker was allowed to operate a machine illegally, and the oversight resulted in him losing his hand. Shady Knob Pallet Company, which is in Middlefield, has now received citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration because the employer allowed the young man to touch the operating parts of a wood planer while it was running.

On top of allowing the teen to be on the machine, the employer had failed to install the required safety guards on the machinery, which means there was no safety guard in place to prevent the amputation. In total, the company received 17 violations and fines proposed of $43,200. Among those violations included not training employees to give first aid in an emergency and not installing electrical equipment properly, which could result in hazardous situations for workers.

OSHA also referred the case to the Wage and Hour Division of the US Government to investigate if child labor laws had been violated when the 14-year-old began working at the company.

Source: Workerscompensation.com, “Ohio Pallet Maker Allowed 14-Year-Old to Operate Machine Illegally, Resulting in Loss of Hand,” July 20, 2015

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