Top House Democrats: Proposed Change to Child Labor Rules Could Endanger Young People and Patients

WASHINGTON – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), and Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), and Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Labor released a proposed rule to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to operate patient lifts in health care settings.

“This rushed proposal to repeal restrictions on teens’ use of patient lifts could endanger the safety of young workers and the patients they serve. It appears the Department of Labor submitted this proposal without any input from National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). In fact, the proposal directly ignores previous expert warnings about the danger of allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to use this equipment by themselves.

“In 2011, when NIOSH was asked to review this precise issue, it cautioned that ‘many 16- and 17-year-old employees cannot safely operate power-driven patient lifts to lift and transfer patients by themselves.’ Those safety concerns are no less relevant today.

“There are many ways to expand job opportunities for young people without risking their safety and the safety of patients in hospitals and nursing homes across the country. The administration should follow the scientific evidence and withdraw this proposal.”


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