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Another teen worker killed on the job

Seventeen year old Miguel Herrera died on Friday when the forklift he was operating at an Omaha, Nebraska meat processing plant tipped over. The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits youth under age 18 from operating forklifts in non-agricultural industries.

OSHA has published a safety and health bulletin entitled “Protecting Young Workers: Prohibition Against Young Workers Operating Forklifts” specifically warning employers against employing underage workers in these operations. The bulletin cites examples of cases exactly like Miguel’s in which fatalities resulted with underage workers.

Aside from the question of the young man’s age, Miguel had been working at the plant for only a month. Did he receive proper training in forklift safety? This is a question that OSHA will need to investigate, but the circumstances of the incident raise serious doubts about the safety conditions in the plant.