After witnessing his youngest son, Cole, get crushed to death in a 2014 logging accident in Washington state, Tim Bostwick is convinced the industry is unsafe for teens. “He was barely just 18 and I got him the job – that’s something I’ve got to live with the rest of my life,” said Bostwick, 42, a third-generation logger from Winlock, Washington. “Logging is a real dangerous occupation, plain and simple, no ifs, ands or buts about it.”
Bostwick and his wife, Wendy, want Congress to reject a bill that would change the federal child labor law to allow 16-and 17-year-olds to operate mechanized logging equipment on family operations so long as they’re under parental supervision.
The bill, called the Future Logging Careers Act, has unanimous backing from Idaho’s all-Republican congressional delegation, which says the measure would give a head start to kids who want to pursue logging careers.
“Obviously that was a tragic situation, but somebody who does want to get into logging can and should be supervised by their parents,” Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, the bill’s chief sponsor, said in an interview. “If a child is going to go into logging, what better way than to start with your family and having your family teach it to you?”
Making the change would require Congress to provide an exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, certain to be an uphill fight on Capitol Hill. Logging has consistently ranked among the nation’s most deadly professions, with 81 fatalities reported in 2015, the last year for which statistics are available, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
From The Charlotte Observer: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article141764294.html