An Idaho tree services company is in hot water with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for allowing teen workers to operate a power-driven woodchipper.
Done-Rite Tree Co. has to pay $10,747 in penalties after an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division found two 17-year-old workers were regularly loading and operating the woodchipper. Operating power-driven woodchippers is considered a hazardous occupation for minors under the Fair Labors Standard Act.
This activity has claimed the lives of several young workers in recent years, including a 17-year-old in Pennsylvania, who suffered a tragic death while operating a woodchipper, according to a DOL news release.
The teen worker in the Pennsylvania incident died Aug. 12 after being partially sucked into a wood chipper at a residential worksite. He was pronounced dead “due to multiple traumatic injuries over an hour after the initial incident.”
“The operation of the woodchipper by minors could have ended in tragedies had we not intervened,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Carrie Aguilar. “We urge employers to visit our Youthrules.gov website to learn how to protect young workers and promote positive and safe work experiences for teens.”