Prohibited jobs for minors

Find out which jobs workers under 18 may not do.

Some jobs are prohibited for all workers under 18.  Others are prohibited only for workers under 16.

Both state and federal laws restrict the jobs that minors may have.  The stricter standard applies. The information below combines both state and federal law.

Workers under 18 may not:

  • Drive a vehicle or forklift (except golf carts in certain circumstances)
  • Operate, clean, or repair power-driven meat slicers, grinders or choppers
  • Operate, clean, or repair power-driven bakery machines
  • Work 30 feet or more above ground or water
  • Handle, serve, or sell alcoholic beverages
  • Use circular or band saws, or guillotine shears
  • Use power-driven woodworking machines
  • Use hoisting machines
  • Operate paper balers, paper box compactors, or other power-driven paper products machines
  • Use power-driven metal-forming, punching, or shearing machines
  • Use buffing or polishing equipment
  • Manufacture brick, tile, or kindred products
  • Manufacture or store explosives
  • Work in excavation, wrecking, demolition, or shipbreaking
  • Work in logging, sawmilling, or mining
  • Work slaughtering, packing, or processing meat
  • Work in railway operations
  • Work in roofing or on or about a roof
  • Work in foundries or around blast furnaces
  • Work manufacturing phosphorus or phosphorus matches
  • Work where they are exposed to radioactive substances
  • Work as a firefighter or engineer on a boat
  • Oil or clean hazardous machinery in motion
  • Work in any job requiring the possession or use of a firearm

Workers under 16 also may not:

  • Operate power-driven machinery (except office machines or machines in retail or food service not otherwise prohibited)
  • Cook (except on electric or gas grills that do not have open flames)
  • Operate fryolators, rotisseries, NIECO broilers, or pressure cookers
  • Operate, clean, or repair power-driven food slicers, grinders or choppers
  • Perform any baking activities
  • Operate microwave ovens (except to heat food in microwave ovens with a maximum capacity of 140 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Clean kitchen surfaces that are hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Filter, transport, or dispose of cooking oil or grease hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Work in freezers or meat coolers
  • Work in a manufacturing facility (e.g., a factory)
  • Work on ladders or scaffolds
  • Work in garages, except dispensing gas and oil
  • Work in brick or lumber yards
  • Work in amusement places (e.g., pool or billiard room, or bowling alley)
  • Work in barber shops
  • Work in construction, transportation, communications, or public utilities (except doing clerical work away from heavy machinery off the job-site)
  • Work in warehouses (except doing clerical work)
  • Load or unload trucks, railroad cars, or conveyors
  • Wash windows in public or commercial buildings if the window sill is more than 10 feet above the ground
  • Work doing laundry in a commercial laundry or dry cleaning establishment
  • Work as a public messenger
  • Work at processing operations (e.g., in meat, fish, or poultry processing or cracking nuts, bulk or mass mailing)
  • Work around boilers or in engine rooms
  • Do industrial homework
  • Work with dangerous electrical machinery or appliances
  • Work that is determined by the Massachusetts Attorney General to be dangerous to the health and well-being of minors
  • Work in any of the occupations or tasks prohibited for persons under age 18

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