Sawmill operator to pay $190,696 for child labor violations after teenage worker suffers fatal injuries

Sept. 11, 2023
Florence Hardwoods LLC has been ordered to place signs and labels at its sawmill to stop children younger than 18 from operating dangerous equipment.

Florence Hardwoods LLC has been ordered to place signs and labels at its sawmill to stop children younger than 18 from operating dangerous equipment. The federal consent order and judgment, which was obtained by the U.S. Department of Labor, also prevents minors from entering the company’s sawmill and planer buildings. These actions were taken following an investigation conducted by the department’s Wage and Hour Division. Earlier this year, a 16-year-old worker suffered severe injuries at the company’s Wisconsin sawmill and died two days later. The investigation uncovered a history of issues related to child workers, including three minor workers suffering injuries over the past three years, nine children illegally operating machinery, and seven underage employees forced to work outside legally permitted hours. Following the death of the teenage worker, Florence Hardwoods terminated all employees under the age of 18.

Florence Hardwoods will no longer be hiring anyone younger than 16, and the company must comply with the requirements for apprentices or student learners. The sawmill operator has also agreed to comply with federal child labor regulations now and in the future. The company will pay $190,696 in civil money penalties to resolve its child labor violations.

In a recent quote, Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su said, “This tragic case illustrates just how vital and urgent it is that the Department of Labor uses every tool at our disposal to combat child labor. Any death of a child is too many. That’s why our Wage and Hour Division and Solicitor’s Office took immediate steps to prevent the sale of ‘hot goods’ and to hold the company accountable for allowing children to perform hazardous and, in this case, deadly jobs. Illegal child labor is a stain on this country and will not be tolerated by this administration or this department.”

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