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The commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry has established some occupations as hazardous or detrimental to the well being of minors. There is work that is prohibited for minors under the age of 18, as well as work that is prohibited for minors under the age of 16.

Those under the age of 18 are prohibited from the following work.

Hazardous materials

Minors are prohibited to work:

  • where chemicals or other substances are present at excessive temperatures or in injurious, explosive, toxic or flammable quantities;

  • or where explosives or fireworks are manufactured, stored, handled or fired.

Hazardous operations

Minors are prohibited to work:

  • in or around logging or lumbering operations; paper, saw, lathe and shingle mills; mines, quarries and sand or gravel pits; construction or building projects; and ice harvesting operations;

  • in building maintenance or repair higher than 12 feet above ground or floor level; and

  • in oxy-acetylene or oxy-hydrogen welding.


Minors may not:

  • serve, dispense or handle intoxicating liquors that are consumed on the premises; and

  • work in rooms where liquor is served or consumed, with the following exceptions:

    • 16-year-olds may perform busing, dishwashing or hosting duties in a restaurant where the presence of intoxicating liquors is incidental to food service and preparation, and

    • 16-year-olds may provide musical entertainment in a restaurant where the presence of intoxicating liquors is incidental to food service and preparation.

Note:  Department of Public Safety liquor-control laws prohibit serving or selling intoxicating liquor in a retail liquor establishment by minors less than 18 years of age.


Prohibited work for minors includes:

  • operating or assisting in the operation of power-driven machinery, such as forklifts, meat saws and grinders, milling machines, punch presses, press brakes and shears, and woodworking machinery; and

  • operating any non-automatic elevator, lift or hoisting machine.


There is no state restriction on age for selling tobacco products. Check the local ordinance for the location of the operation.


Minors are prohibited to work:

  • on boats or vessels used for commercial purposes, except if performing guide or other non-operational duties;

  • driving buses, cabs or other passenger-carrying vehicles as a driver; and

  • in certain railway occupations.

Other limitations

Minors are prohibited to work:

  • in aerial or other acrobatic acts; and

  • as a lifeguard, except for a minor with a Red Cross lifesaving certificate who works with uninterrupted adult supervision.

Exceptions to the prohibited-work limitations

Exceptions to prohibited-work limitations include:

  • a 17-year-old high school graduate;

  • a minor employed by a business solely owned and daily supervised by one or both parents; and

  • a minor employed at tasks away from or outside the area of hazardous operation, equipment or materials.

For more information

Contact us at, 651-284-5075 or 800-342-5354.