Legislation Agriculture, forestry and fishing

AIHA opposes lowering working age for loggers

Falls Church, VA – Legislation proposing to lower the working age in the logging industry is receiving pushback from a worker health organization.

Introduced in May in the House and Senate, the Future Logging Careers Act would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which prohibits anyone younger than 18 from logging.

The proposal pertains only to 16- and 17-year-olds working under parental supervision, similar to a current parental exemption in the agriculture industry.

Republicans backing the legislation claim it would help revitalize the logging industry in certain parts of the country, as well as help loggers pass down the family trade to a younger generation. However, in letters sent Aug. 5 to the sponsors of the House and Senate bills, the American Industrial Hygiene Association warned that the move would be “detrimental” to teens’ health and safety.

“Logging and tree trimming comprise some of the highest injury and fatality rates nationwide,” AIHA President-Elect Daniel H. Anna said in the letter. “Adding an exemption for the logging industry to employ 16-17 year olds and subsequently increasing the number of minors at risk of serious injury is not the right way to attempt to stimulate economic growth.”