FALLS CHURCH, VA  —  A bill before Congress that would exempt some teenagers employed by logging companies from child labor laws is being opposed by a health and safety advocacy organization.

Advocacy Group Opposes Logging Industry Employment Bill

The Future Logging Careers Act would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 which prohibits anyone under 18 working in the logging industry. This week the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) sent letters to members of Congress in opposition to the proposed legislation, saying allowing teenagers under 18 to find employment would have a “detrimental impact on the health and safety of young workers.”

“Logging and tree-trimming are dangerous jobs, even for seasoned workers, and employing young and inexperienced workers only exacerbates the risk of serious on-the-job injuries,” says AIHA President-elect Daniel H. Anna.

The bill was introduced by three Iowa legislators to bolster the logging industry and the state’s economy. The legislation calls for the same regulatory exemptions as the agriculture industry, which allows family members between the ages of 16 and 17 to work under parental supervision.

AIHA officials said the agricultural industry is prone to injuries, sometimes fatal, with 34 percent of the deaths being attributed to workers between 16 and 19 years of age.

“Adding an exemption for the logging industry to employ 16 and 17 year olds, and subsequently increasing the number of minors at risk of serious injury, is not the right way to attempt to stimulate economic growth,” says Anna.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.