A 16-year-old worker was injured and later died from those injuries, following an incident while operating dangerous equipment. This was a clear violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Florence Hardwoods, a sawmill based out of Florence, Wisconsin, was also found to have three additional incidents where children (15-16 years old) were injured from November 2021 to March 2023. Additionally, nine children (14-17) were illegally employed to operate hazardous equipment, while seven children (14-15) worked outside the legally permitted hours.

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division levied $190,696 in fines, that Florence agreed to pay. The sawmill also terminated all employees under the age of 18, placed warning signs in the mill and planer buildings, and agreed to policy changes concerning underage hiring, machine labeling to prevent use by minors, and utilize the Youth Employment Compliance Assistance Toolkit from the DOL.

Do you think this was a fair enough punishment for the sawmill?

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About the Author

Jon Knight

Jon Knight leads the NASP Team’s media creation department. He has been involved with workplace safety training since 2017 with a focus on course creation. He also provides video production and voiceovers for NASP content.
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