Skip to content


The Trump administration is pushing for a change that would allow 16 and 17-year-olds the right to spend more time learning and working in certain dangerous jobs, including roofing work and operating chainsaws and various other power-driven machines that current laws recognize as too dangerous for those younger than 18. The Department of Labor will propose launching more family-sustaining careers by removing restrictions on the amount of time that apprentices and student learners may perform Hazardous Occupation governed work. The administration’s intent for this rule is to facilitate closely supervised training that actually enhances safety by allowing youth more practice on the machinery they can operate full time when they reach 18 years-old.

Some employers welcome this change in rules based on the modern advances that arguably make equipment previously determined hazardous safer for minors to operate. Other proponents cite the benefit of additional job opportunities such a change would provide those who are not planning on attending a four-year university.


Current laws allow 16 and 17-year old apprentices and high school students in vocational programs to receive limited exemptions, generally an hour or less a day, to perform work in some of the hazardous occupations. The current administration’s proposed change to decades-old child labor laws is already being met with opposition. Critics of this rule change cite to the success of current legislation as leading to the reduction in youth occupation fatalities and injuries. Opponents are also concerned that companies would abuse this new rule by avoiding the supervision aspect and instead push lower-paid, younger workers into hazardous jobs as a cost saving measure.

Whether you agree with this change or oppose it, based on its broader goal of expanding earn-as-you-learn apprenticeship programs, we anticipate similar changes will continue to roll out under this administration.

Please feel free to contact your Thompson Coe attorney or visit to keep apprised of this proposed rule change.  

Thompson Coe and myHRgenius Tip of the Week is not intended as a solicitation, does not constitute legal advice, and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


Subscribe to myHRgenius for unlimited expert help.

Find out more about the program and subscribe today.

Learn More

Related People

Kevin M. Mosher

Kevin M. Mosher


Related Resources