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Agricultural jobs and injuries to child laborers

Maryland is one of 17 states where child labor laws are mostly exempted when it comes to agricultural work. This could mean that various provisions of the Fair Labor Standards act regulating the age of the worker, hours worked or wages of these young workers will not be applied.  

Also, enforcement of laws protecting child laborers on farms has been lax.  Federal officials have for the most part relied upon states to regulate farm work, and most states have not implemented rigorous enforcement.  The federal government and a significant number of states place no limitation upon the number of hours that young people are required to work in any given week.  And states are often faced with budget constraints that do not allow for the ability to oversee agricultural work.

What is particularly disturbing about this lack of oversight is the fact that young workers are exposed to a large number of dangers when working on farms.  It has been reported by the Bureau of Labor that teenagers working on farms are four times more likely to die due to workplace injuries than would those working other types of jobs.

In an environment such as this we are likely to see more workplace injuries involving teenagers on the farm.  One of the few recourses that these young people will have is for their parents to consult with an experienced work injury attorney should a workplace injury occur.  Though regulations may not be in place, attorneys can bring lawsuits against employers who fail to implement measures to make the workplace safer.

Source: USA Today, "Kids may have picked food for your Labor Day picnic," Marsha Mercer, Aug. 30, 2013

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