AIHA Opposes “Future Logging Careers Act”

AIHA submits comments in opposition to House Bill 1215, proposed legislation that would allow 16- and 17-year-old children to be exempt from child labor laws if they worked in logging or mechanized operations under parental supervision.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Release No. SPR-15-0428-01

CONTACT:
Aaron Trippler, AIHA Government Affairs

(703) 846-0730; atrippler@aiha.org

Chanta’ Stewart, AIHA Communications
(703) 846-0700; cstewart@aiha.org

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (April 28, 2015) — The American Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA) has submitted a letter of opposition to legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho). H.R. 1215, the “Future Logging Careers Act,” would allow 16- and 17-year-old employees working in logging and mechanized operations to be exempt from child labor laws if they are employed by a parent or person standing in place of a parent who owns the business. Presently, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 prohibits employing anyone under the age of 18 in the logging industry. AIHA also submitted a letter in opposition to the companion measure introduced in the Senate, S 694.

As AIHA commemorates Workers Memorial Day, which is observed every year on April 28, the association expresses concern that injuries and fatalities resulting from this proposed legislation may outweigh any of the positive economic gains. The association’s letter contains three specific comments for the House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce to consider:

1. Logging and tree trimming, although different operationally, have some of the highest injury and fatality rates nationwide. These are dangerous jobs even for seasoned workers; employing young and inexperienced workers only exacerbates the risk of serious on-the-job injuries.

2. Other sectors, including the agriculture industry, have regulatory exemptions that allow family members between the ages of 16 and 17 to work under parental supervision. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), on average, 113 youths under 20 years of age die annually from farm-related injuries, with 34 percent of these deaths occurring among 16- to 19-year-olds. An additional exemption allowing the logging industry to employ 16- and 17-year-olds will only increase the number of minors at risk of serious injury. 

3. AIHA is concerned that this legislation would have a detrimental impact on the health and safety of young workers in Idaho, where children between the ages of 16 and 17 are currently permitted to work any job that is not declared as hazardous by the Secretary of Labor.

To view the letter, click here​

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About AIHA®
Founded in 1939, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) is the premier association of occupational and environmental health and safety professionals. AIHA’s 10,000 members play a crucial role on the front line of worker health and safety every day. Members represent a cross-section of industry, private business, labor, government and academia.