Lesson Introduction

Hazardous Nonagricultural Occupations for Youth

Female student working with a lathe
DOL has designated certain occupations as hazardous because they may be detrimental to the health and well-being of young people under the age of 18. To ensure their protection, federal law establishes safety standards and restrictions for young workers. One of the restrictions is that youth under 18 years of age may not be employed in nonagricultural occupations deemed hazardous by the Secretary of Labor, even when employed by parents or guardians.


A few of the nonagricultural occupations deemed hazardous by the Secretary of Labor for children under 18 years of age are listed here. For a complete list, refer to Child Labor Bulletin 101.

  • Driving a motor vehicle or working as an outside helper on motor vehicles
  • Forest fire fighting
  • Manufacturing brick, tile, and related products
  • Using power-driven circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears, chain saws, reciprocating saws, wood chippers, and abrasive cutting discs
  • Working in wrecking, demolition, and ship-breaking operations
  • Roofing and work performed on or about a roof
Cite Source
Child Labor Bulletin 101 (WH-1330)

Exemptions from Hazardous Nonagricultural Occupations

Under certain circumstances, some of the nonagricultural occupations may be exempt from the Secretary of Labor's Hazardous Occupation Orders (HOs). A few examples are listed below. Refer to Child Labor Bulletin 101 (WH-1330) for a complete list and the circumstances under which they may be exempt.

WBL 17-year-olds may drive automobiles and trucks on public roads as part of their employment on an occasional and incidental basis under some circumstances.

WBL students and apprentices in certain hazardous occupations or operations may have exemptions to use the following power-driven machines:

  • Woodworking machines
  • Metal-forming, punching, and shearing machines
  • Meat processing equipment, including slicers
  • Saws, shears, wood chippers, and cutting discs​

WBL students and apprentices in certain hazardous occupations or operations may have exemptions for the following occupations:

  • Roofing operations and all work on or about a roof
  • Excavation operations
Cite Source
Child Labor Bulletin 101 (WH-1330)

Hazardous Agricultural Occupations

The DOL issues Hazardous Occupations Orders (HOs) for agricultural employment because jobs in agriculture may be particularly detrimental to the health and well-being of youth under the age of 16 years. Under TEA requirements, WBL students must be at least 16 years old, thus they are not prohibited from employment in hazardous agricultural occupations under DOL regulations. However, local districts may choose to place additional restrictions on student employment in these occupations.

Even though the DOL allows WBL students to work in any agricultural occupation, instructors coordinating student WBL experiences should be aware of which occupations are hazardous to ensure adequate safety precautions are taken. Child Labor Bulletin 102 (WH-1295) lists hazardous agricultural occupations. The list includes jobs such as

  • operating a tractor over 20 power-take-off (PTO) horsepower;
  • operating a power post digger or corn picker;
  • working on a farm in a bull pen; and
  • handling a blasting agent such as dynamite.


For additional information about agricultural safety and hazardous occupations, refer to Lesson 11.1 of this course, Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

Activity: Find Information in Child Labor Bulletin 102

Texas Restrictions on Employment of Minors

Activity: Find Information in the Texas Child Labor Law

Quick Check #1

Quick Check #2

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

Even if an occupation is not deemed hazardous, there are always safety and health issues that can arise. To help protect workers, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) administers and enforces federal laws pertaining to occupational health and safety for all workers.

OSHA's mission is to assure safe and healthful working conditions by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are responsible for the following:

  • Providing a safe and healthful workplace
  • Complying with all applicable OSHA standards
  • Complying with the General Duty Clause of the OSHA Act, which requires employers to keep their workplace free of serious recognized hazards

Take a moment to bookmark the OSHA website for later reference.

Factors Impacting Job Safety

According to OSHA, researchers have found that the following factors affect job safety:
  • Age of the employee; younger employees have higher incidence rates
  • Length of time on the job; new employees have higher incidence rates
  • Size of the firm; medium-size firms generally have higher incidence rates than smaller or larger firms
  • Type of work performed
  • Use of hazardous substances

Keep in mind that WBL students are at greater risk of getting hurt because of their age and inexperience.


You may want to download the OSHA Job Hazard Analysis for later reference.

OSHA Young Workers Website

To help educate young workers on potential hazards and resources for addressing any concerns, OSHA developed a website specifically for young workers. The site includes information on workplace hazards for occupations in which young people commonly work, such as
  • farming;
  • construction;
  • food service and fast food;
  • janitorial, cleanup, and maintenance;
  • office and clerical; and
  • retail, grocery, and convenience store clerks.


Take a moment to bookmark the OSHA Young Workers website so that you can easily share it with your students.

OSHA Training

Many standards set by OSHA require employers to train employees in the safety and health aspects of their jobs. OSHA sees training as an essential part of every employer’s safety and health program for protecting workers from injuries and illnesses.

Although a general awareness of OSHA standards and training requirements is important, there is no need to memorize all of them because they are on the OSHA website.
Through its Outreach Training Program, OSHA offers the following occupational safety and health classes designed for workers and employers:

  • Construction 10- and 30-hour classes
  • General Industry 10- and 30-hour classes
  • Maritime 10- and 30-hour classes
  • Public Sector Safety and Health Fundamentals classes
  • Disaster Site Worker classes

The most common and appropriate OSHA training classes for high school students are the 10-hour classes because they are designed for entry-level workers. The 30-hour classes are more appropriate for supervisors or workers with some supervisory responsibility.


You may wish to download and read OSHA Training Requirements.

Quick Check #3

Lesson Review

Lesson Conclusion