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The Department of Labor is committed to helping young workers find positive, appropriate and safe employment experiences. The youth employment provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) [PDF*] were enacted to protect the educational opportunities of minors and prohibit their employment in jobs and under conditions which are detrimental to their health or well-being. These provisions include restrictions on the types of jobs that minors may perform.

One such provision, Hazardous Occupations Order No. 12 (HO 12) [PDF*], generally prohibits minors less than 18 years of age from loading, operating, and unloading certain power-driven paper processing machines, including scrap paper balers, paper box compactors, guillotine paper cutters or shears, platen printing presses, and envelope die-cutting presses. The prohibitions concerning balers and compactors extend to equipment that processes other materials in addition to paper, such as trash, foam rubber, metal, food waste, plastic and fabric.

The Fair Labor Standards Act [PDF*] prohibits workers under the age of 18 from operating cardboard baling machines.

OSHA Safety & Health Topics Page: Teen Workers




Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

*These files are provided for downloading.