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LARM Member News

Protect your younger workers

It’s summertime when many municipalities and governmental agencies hire teenagers to do everything from mowing to trimming trees to picking up trash. It’s a win/win situation for the towns that can acquaint young citizens with the operations of a government entity. It also helps to give area teens a way to earn some money without traveling far from home.

Tracy Juranek, LARM Customer Service Specialist/LARM Assistant Executive Director, cautions municipalities to be careful what jobs are given to these young workers. Some jobs that a 14, 15, 16 or 17-year-old should not be doing include driving a motor vehicle, using power-driven equipment,  excavating, and working on roofs.

“You need to follow Nebraska Department of Labor laws when assigning duties to your young workers as they shouldn’t be doing jobs that require skills that are too difficult or dangerous,” Juranek said.

Jobs that most 14 and 15-year-olds could do would be office and clerical work, clean-up work, kitchen work, and cleaning vehicles. Teenagers should also not be doing any job that requires climbing a ladder or working from a scaffold.

“All 14 and 15-year-olds are prohibited from operating power-driven lawnmowers. All 16 and 17-year-olds can operate a power-driven lawnmower but cannot transport the mower from job site to job site if it requires the operation of a motor vehicle,” Juranek said.

(Photo was taken at the Wymore Aquatic Center, Wymore, Nebraska.)


Summer Employment of Minors For Municipalities

Many Nebraska municipalities employ persons under the age of 18, particularly during the summer. These municipalities need to be careful to know the laws affecting the use of labor under age 18. Minors that are age 14 and 15 are treated differently than minors that are age 16 or 17. It is important that your municipality understand the rules and regulations involving the employment of minors. Just some of the rules that might affect municipalities are as follows (keep in mind that there might be other restrictions):

Age 14, 15, 16 and 17 Prohibited Activities:

♦ Manufacturing or storing explosives,

♦ Driving a motor vehicle and being an outside helper on a motor vehicle,

♦ Coal mining,

♦ Logging and sawmilling,

♦ Power-driven woodworking machines,

♦ Exposure to radioactive substances and to ionizing radiations,

♦ Power-driven hoisting equipment,

♦ Power-driven metal-forming, punching, and shearing machines,

♦ Mining, other than coal mining,

♦ Meatpacking or processing (including power-driven meat slicing machines),

♦ Power-driven bakery machines,

♦ Power-driven paper-products machines,

♦ Manufacturing brick, tile, and related products,

♦ Power-driven circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears,

♦ Wrecking, demolition, and ship-breaking operations,

♦ Roofing operations,

♦ Excavation operations.

Some Age 14 and 15 Permitted Activities:

♦ Office and clerical work, including the operation of office machines,

♦ Clean-up work, including the use of vacuum cleaners and floor waxers, and maintenance of grounds but not including the use of power-driven mowers or cutters,

♦ Kitchen work and other work involved in preparing and serving food and beverages, including the operation of machines and devices used in performing such work, including but not limited to dishwashers, toasters, dumbwaiters, popcorn poppers, milkshake blenders, and coffee grinders.

♦ Work in connection with cars and trucks confined to dispensing gasoline and oil; courtesy service; car cleaning, washing, and polishing, but not work involving the use of pits, racks, or lifting apparatus, or involving the inflation of any tire mounted on a rim equipped with a removable retaining ring.

Some Age 14 and 15 Prohibited Activities:

♦ Operation or tending of any hoisting apparatus or of any power-driven machinery other than office machines,

♦ Operation of motor vehicles or service as helpers on such vehicles,

♦ Outside window washing that involves working from windowsills and all work that requires the use of ladders, scaffolds or their substitutes,

♦ Setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling, or repairing power-driven food slicers and grinders, food choppers and cutters, and bakery-type mixers,

♦ Work in freezers and meat coolers.

Hours limitations:

♦ Youths 18 or older may perform any job, whether hazardous or not, for unlimited hours, in accordance with minimum wage and overtime requirements.

♦ Youths 16 and 17 years old may perform any nonhazardous job, for unlimited hours.

♦ Youths 14 and 15 years old may work outside school hours in various nonmanufacturing, non-mining nonhazardous jobs up to:

– 3 hours on a school day;

– 18 hours in a school week;

– 8 hours on a non-school day;

– 40 hours on a non-school week.

Also, work must be performed between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., except from June 1 through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended to 9 p.m.

What this means to your municipality:

Driving – All persons under 18 (including those with a proper driver’s license) are prohibited from driving on the job. There are some very limited exceptions, but it is unlikely that they would apply to municipal operations.

Mowing – According to the Department of Labor:

14 and 15-year-olds are prohibited from operating a power-driven mower;

16 and 17-year-olds can operate the mower but can not transport the mower from job site to job site if such transport involves the operation of a motor vehicle.

Swimming Pools – Municipalities need to pay attention to the school year to ensure that minors will not work more than the permitted amount of hours.

Excavation – According to U.S. Department of Labor Child Labor Bulletin 101, minors are allowed to do some manual backfilling and digging in trenches that do not exceed four feet in depth at any point.

Vehicle Outside Helper – There is a general prohibition against minors acting as “outside helpers” for motor vehicle operations. U.S. Department of Labor Child Labor Bulletin 101 defines “outside helper” as “any individual, other than a driver, whose work includes riding on a motor vehicle outside the cab for the purpose of assisting in transporting or delivering goods.” It is permissible to have minors help load motor vehicles.

U.S. Department of Labor Child Labor Bulletin 101 can be found at

Both the U.S. Department of Labor and the Nebraska Department of Labor have helpful information. The U.S. Department of Labor can be reached at 402-221-4682 and the Nebraska Department of Labor can be reached at 402-471-9000.

More information about employing youth can be found at the Nebraska Department of Labor website at Search for “employing youth” in the search bar.