Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at

July 13, 1999

                    STATE DESIGNEES

                    ASSISTANT SECRETARY 
FROM:               R. DAVIS LAYNE

SUBJECT:            Child Labor: Probability Assessment and Good
                    Faith Penalty Adjustment Considerations

This is to advise you of a change to OSHA's probability assessment and "good faith" penalty adjustment considerations for violations involving minor employees which will be effective on the date of this memorandum. This change is being made to provide more effective protection for young workers, who are especially vulnerable to workplace hazards. Young workers in this situation are those employees who are less than 18 years old.

Please make the following pen-and-ink changes at C.2.f.(2)(f) on page IV-10 of the OSHA Field Inspection Reference Manual (FIRM):

C.    2.     f.   Probability Assessment.


(2)  Violations. The following circumstances may normally be considered, as appropriate, when violations likely to result in injury or illness are involved.

(a) Number of workers exposed.


(f) Other pertinent working conditions.

(f) Youth and inexperience of workers, especially those under 18 years old.

(g) Other pertinent working conditions.

Please make the following pen-and-ink changes at C.2.i.(5)(b) on page IV-14 of the FIRM:

C.    2.    i.    (5)    (b)  Good Faith.  A penalty reduction of up to 25 
                                 percent, based on the CSHO's professional judgment, is 
                                 permitted in recognition of an employer's "good faith".


5. Where young workers (i.e., less than 18 years old) are employed, the CSHO's evaluation must consider whether the employer's safety and health program appropriately addresses the particular needs of such workers with regard to the types of work they perform and the hazards to which they are exposed.

State Plan States. OSHA believes that this policy change is an effective tool for dealing with employers who expose children to safety and health violations. We strongly encourage the States to adopt a similar penalty adjustment policy for violations exposing young workers and to notify their Regional Administrator as to their intent.

If you have any questions, please contact Patrick Kapust or William Smith in the Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance at (202) 693-1850.