Trump Admin Wants To Let Teens Fall Off Roofs So They Can Feed Their Teen Families
You're sure this is certified safety equipment?
The Trump administration promised us it would make America rich by getting rid of burdensome government regulations, and wow, has it ever come through! Coal mines are now allowed to destroy creeks and otherwise not clean up after themselves, and dangerous pesticides can be sold for agricultural use as long as they only poison migrant farm workers, and now we've got the imminent return of child labor! Some proposed Department of Labor rules that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to work long hours in dangerous conditions sure sound like a step in the right direction, that is for sure.
The DOL will propose relaxing current rules -- known as Hazardous Occupations Orders (HOs) -- that prohibit 16- and 17-year-old apprentices and student learners from receiving extended, supervised training in certain dangerous jobs, said [...] two sources. That includes roofing work, as well as operating chainsaws, and various other power-driven machines that federal law recognizes as too dangerous for youth younger than 18.
Roofing? We feel like we just saw something about that, what was it?
A draft summary of the proposal that Bloomberg Law got its hands on says,
The Department proposes to safely launch more family-sustaining careers by removing current regulatory restrictions on the amount of time that apprentices and student learners may perform HO-governed work[.]
Kids really need mentoring opportunities to operate dangerous equipment safely, as seen in this training photo from Trump University's catalog entry, "So! You Want To Operate A Chainsaw?!"
Now dammit, hold that fucker tight or you could lose a thumb.
Current regulations only allow teen apprentices or students to be trained for less than an hour a day. Remarkably, these regulations were actually put in place before the Obama administration, so that's at least a new twist. Not surprisingly, a bunch of nanny state types are likely to get all hot under the collar, claiming this will make teen workers less safe, or that it's more about skirting labor laws than about helping the younguns learn a trade:
[The] effort will receive sharp criticism among child labor advocates and former government officials, who say the rule would erase decades of progress in reducing youth occupational fatalities and injuries. Some also worry it would lead companies to abuse their newfound regulatory leniency by pushing lower-paid, younger workers into hazardous jobs and ignoring the tough-to-enforce supervision terms.
That just seems like a lot of worry about nothing, really. For one thing, the number of government inspectors poking their noses into employers' business will also be reduced, and as we learned when the Department of Education stopped investigating racial discrimination in schools, if you don't look for problems, the problems don't exist. For another thing, why shouldn't teenagers take dangerous jobs if they want to, if by "want" you mean have no choice but to be stuck in a "training" wage doing dangerous work that an adult would be able to demand more pay for.
Even though this will obviously help Americans who keep all their fingers become rich, there are still Negative Nellies out there:
A former WHD senior official who spent 20 years enforcing child labor law didn’t mince words when learning of the agency’s rulemaking intentions.
“When you find 16-year-olds running a meat slicer or a mini grinder or a trash compactor, we know kids are severely injured in those circumstances,” Michael Hancock, who left the WHD in 2015 to represent workers at the plaintiff firm Cohen Milstein in New York, told Bloomberg Law. “That’s why the laws exist in the first place.”
“Now we’re saying, ‘We’re going to open those hazards up to kids; we hope that the employer is going to follow the law to a T and make sure the kid is being closely supervised,’” added Hancock, who worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations. “I think that stretches credulity to think that’s how it’s actually going to work.”
See, that's the kind of thinking Trump's up against. That's exactly the sort of anti-prosperity thinking that brought an end to the shirtwaist industry just because a few score underaged shop girls died in a fire.
Here's the real surprise about this beautiful innovation: Industry isn't even asking for it! But once Trump's Labor Department gives them, and America's young laborers, the lovely gift of relaxed regulations on teens doing dangerous labor, we bet EVERYONE will want a teenager operating a drill press in their workplace.
Now, about that wasteful "overtime pay" that nobody really needs...
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