The laws and regulations that protect Colorado employees are sometimes different based on the worker’s age. For example, there are certain things that anyone under 18 cannot do at work, such as the prohibition under the Fair Labor Standards Act’s Hazardous Occupations Order No. 10 which limits anyone under 18 from using, interacting with or cleaning meat processing machines. Although some employers in Jefferson County may find this rule capricious, there is good reason for it, and the recent story of a 17-year-old boy who lost his arm after it was crushed in a meat grinder proves the point.
The young man had been working in the butcher department of a grocery store and apparently had been ordered to use a meat grinder, cutter and slicer as part of his daily work. Not only was this a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, but it was incredibly dangerous. Sadly, the grocery store learned that the hard way after the teenager had to have his arm amputated below the elbow.
Amputations are incredibly serious injuries and to say that a worker who has lost a limb in a workplace accident deserves workers’ compensation is an understatement. While an amputation will not necessarily prevent an individual from working for the rest of his or her life, it is obvious that he or she will need time to recuperate and the employee’s options for future work will be severely limited.
It is unknown if the teenager who recently lost his arm has spoken with a workers’ compensation attorney to file for benefits, but it is highly likely that he would receive them.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, “Paterson, NJ, grocer sued by US Labor Department for child labor violations following accident involving 17-year-old worker,” July 2, 2013