By Chris Young, Executive Director
Within the past year, a number of AAMP members have had visits from their state Department of Labor and have been subject to write-ups and fines due to, in some cases, how they employ underage workers within their facilities.
It is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s work climate to find people who want to work in plants or stores; the ever-increasing labor regulations are making it even more challenging. Labor laws in the meat industry are stricter than most other industries when it comes to what a minor can and can’t do in a processing facility.
In an effort to make sure our members understand what is or is not allowed, I have reached out to Rick Alaniz of Cruickshank & Alaniz LLP and asked him to develop a list of jobs that minors can’t perform in meat plants.
Here is a list of the meat processing machines and equipment that cannot be used, set-up, adjusted, repaired, cleaned, or oiled by anyone under the age of 18:
- Meat patty forming machines;
- Meat and bone cutting saws;
- Poultry scissors or shears;
- Meat slicers;
- Knives (except bacon-slicing machines);
- Head splitters and guillotine cutters;
- Snout pullers and jaw pullers;
- Skinning machines;
- Horizontal rotary washing machines;
- Casing cleaning equipment, such as crushing, stripping, and finishing machines;
- Grinding, mixing, chopping and hashing machines;
- Presses (except belly-rolling machines)
Workers under 18 may use lightweight or small capacity, portable countertop mixers to process materials other than meat or poultry (similar to the countertop mixers found in homes). This comes from the regulation itself. Obviously, if there were similar equipment not listed, it would also be deemed hazardous because it is in the meat industry.
If you have any questions, Rick’s contact information under the Labor Law Materials resource tab on AAMP’s website. He is happy to help with any questions you might have.