. "6 Laws, Regulations, and Training." Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1998.
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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States
Hazardous orders can also be changed by legislation. For example, Hazardous Order No. 12 was eased in 1996 by Public Law 104-174 to allow youngsters aged 16 or older to load certain scrap-paper balers and paper-box compactors, although they still are not allowed to operate or unload them. Legislative (or administrative changes) may not necessarily take into account current knowledge about hazards for adolescents. For example, despite evidence that one of the most common causes of death for children and adolescents in occupational settings is motor-vehicle incidents (Castillo et al., 1994), a bill was introduced in the 105th Congress to relax the current restrictions on the use of motor-vehicles by young workers. This bill (H.R. 2327) would substantially revise Hazardous Order No. 2, which prohibits all occupational driving by individuals under the age of 18 except on "an occasional and incidental basis" and would allow youths between the ages of 16 and 18 to drive as many as 50 miles from their places of employment so long as the time spent driving did not exceed one-third of the workday or 20 percent of the work week.
There are hazardous orders for specific types of work, but there is none that address the need to protect youths in generic ways. Youngsters working with hazardous materials or equipment may be at risk without supervision. The potential for violent assault in jobs that involve the exchange of money is another hazard that face today's young workers. There are many tragic examples of assaults on adolescents, particularly in retail and fast-food establishments. Although some states attempt to regulate this problem by limiting the late hours youths may work, assaults and hold-ups happen throughout the day.
In addition to these general problems, the hazardous orders for children in agriculture raise further concerns. Despite the fact that agriculture is among the most dangerous occupations in the United States, 16-year-olds are permitted to engage in work on farms that they would have to be 18-years-old to perform anywhere else. The current safety-based orders have not been updated to reflect new and emerging technologies, work practices, and actual exposures to health and safety hazards in agricultural workplaces where youngsters are employed. The risks are even greater for children who work on farms owned or operated by their parents because no child labor provisions apply to such children, although hazardous orders do apply to nonagricultural family-owned and-operated businesses.