Safety and Health

Youth employment rules

You have the responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace.

You may hire youth as workers, but there are certain considerations when employing minors. Federal child labor law generally prohibits the employment of minors under the age of 14 in nonagricultural occupations, restricts the hours of work that can be performed by minors under 16, and prohibits the employment of minors under the age of 18 in any hazardous occupation. Different child labor law standards apply to agricultural employment.


Detailed information on federal and state child labor laws is available on OSHA’s Young Workers Website.

Young female employee using a digital tablet while working in an organic store

We’re here to help.

We are committed to helping you understand your responsibilities as an employer. Many questions about safety and health responsibilities may be answered by using the following elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisor:

For additional assistance, please contact:

OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742)

OSHA’s area offices provide advice, education, and assistance to businesses and organizations who request help with occupational safety and health issues. In addition, OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential safety and occupational health advice. No citations or penalties are issued; the employer’s only obligation is to correct identified hazards.


Please note that the mining industry has its own set of safety and health standards, rules, and regulations, which are overseen by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Mining industry employers should contact MSHA at 202-693-9400 or

Need more information?

The elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors are a set of online tools developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employees and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under federal employment laws.