Young Workers – Restaurant Safety


Restaurant safety for young workers is addressed in specific OSHA standards for general industry. This section highlights OSHA standards and documents related to restaurant safety for young workers.

OSHA Standards

Frequently Cited Standards

OSHA maintains a listing of the most frequently cited standards for specified 2-6-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. Please refer to OSHA's Frequently Cited OSHA Standards page for additional information. For Food Services and Drinking Places use NAICS code 722 in the NAICS search box.

State Plan Standards

There are 29 OSHA-approved State Plans operating state-wide occupational safety and health programs. State Plans are required to have standards and enforcement programs that are at least as effective as OSHA's and may have different or more stringent requirements.

Additional Letters of Interpretation

Note: The letters in this list provide additional information that is not necessarily connected to a specific OSHA standard highlighted on this Safety and Health Topics page.

Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)

Adolescent workers are protected by two laws enforced by DOL: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act. Each state also has child labor laws.

  • Employers must comply with both federal and state laws. When federal and state standards are different, the rules that provide the most protection to youth workers will apply. For additional information, see child labor laws listed by state.

Federal laws provide guidance for employment of youth workers in both agricultural and non-agricultural jobs.

  • Federal child labor rules are established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA child labor provisions are designed to protect the educational opportunities of youth and prohibit their employment in jobs and under conditions detrimental to their health or safety. Once a teen reaches age 18, federal child labor rules no longer apply.
    • For information on non-agricultural youth workers see: hours permitted and jobs permitted, some exemptions exist. For example, if you are 14 to 15 years of age, you may not perform jobs in the food service industry such as:
      • Cooking, except at soda fountains, lunch counters, snack bars, and cafeteria serving counters;
      • Baking;
      • Operating, setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling, or repairing power-driven food slicers, grinders, choppers, cutters, and bakery mixers;
      • Operating Neico broilers, pressurized fryers, rotisseries, lawn mowers and "weed whackers";
      • Working in freezers or meat coolers;
      • Outside window washing, or work standing on a window sill, ladder, scaffold, or similar equipment;
      • Loading or unloading goods on or off trucks, railcars, or conveyors.

Hazardous Jobs (for non-agricultural occupations): Teens younger than age 18 years of age, may not work in or with occupations defined as Hazardous Occupations (HO). Hazardous occupations that may be represented in the restaurant industry and are not allowed for employees younger than 18 include:

  • 29 CFR 570.52, Occupations of motor-vehicle driver and outside helper (Order 2)
  • 29 CFR 570.58, Occupations involved in the operation of power-driven hoisting apparatus (Order 7)
  • 29 CFR 570.61, Occupations in the operation of power-driven meat-processing machines and occupations involving slaughtering, meat packing or processing, or rendering (Order 10)
  • 29 CFR 570.62, Occupations involved in the operation of bakery machines (Order 11)

For additional information about Hazardous Occupations and the FLSA see the following U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) sites: