The application of child labor laws often depends on whether the job is agricultural or not, and if it is agricultural, whether it is hazardous or not. (See Hiring Young Workers to learn about child labor laws, including those applying to agricultural jobs.) In order to figure out which laws apply to you, you need to know how the U.S. Department of Labor defines "agriculture" and "hazardous agricultural" job.
The U.S. Department of Labor defines agriculture to include:
- cultivating and tilling the soil
- dairy farming
- producing, cultivating, growing or harvesting any agricultural or horticultural commodities
- raising livestock, bees, fur-bearing animals or poultry, or
- any practices performed by a farmer on a farm as part of farming -- for example, forestry, lumbering and preparing items for market.
Hazardous Agricultural Jobs
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, several agricultural jobs are too hazardous for workers who are 15 years of age and younger. Those jobs include:
- operating a tractor that has more than 20 horsepower
- working in a yard, pen or stall occupied by a bull, a stud horse maintained for breeding purposes or a sow with suckling pigs
- felling timber with a diameter of more than six inches
- working from a ladder or scaffold at a height of more than 20 feet, and
- handling or using blast agents.
For a complete list of hazardous agricultural occupations, refer to the Department of Labor's website at http://www.dol.gov.