U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Pennsylvania Logging Company Paying $26,985 in Penalties for Child Labor Violations
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA - Benjamin D. Coblentz, a Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania forestry and logging company, will pay $26,985 in civil money penalties after the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found violations of child labor provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) during an investigation of a serious injury sustained by an employee under the age of 16.
WHD investigators found that Benjamin D. Coblentz - doing business as Coblentz Custom Sawing - employed two minors under the age of 16 in violation of the FLSA's child labor requirements, which, with very few exceptions, prohibit performance of all occupations in a sawmill by workers less than 18 years old. WHD also found the company willfully violated FLSA requirements when it employed one of the minors specifically to operate a wood saw. This minor suffered a deep cut on his arm while operating the saw, requiring hospitalization.
WHD also cited the company for its failure to maintain records of the dates of birth for the two minors and for failing to display a FLSA poster, as required.
"This injury didn't have to happen," said Wage and Hour Division District Office Director John DuMont, in Pittsburgh. "Child labor laws exist to strike a balance between providing meaningful work experience for young people, and keeping them safe on the job. The Wage and Hour Division remains committed to providing employers the tools they need to understand their responsibilities."
The FLSA prohibits minors from working in occupations declared hazardous by the U.S. Secretary of Labor, including, in most instances, all occupations in forestry service, logging and sawmilling operations.
Employees and employers can get more information about federal wage laws administered by the Division by calling the agency's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employees can also file complaints confidentially. More information also is available online at https://www.dol.gov/whd.