Are Minors Prohibited From Working In Certain Occupations?

Prohibited occupations for minors under the age of 18 are as follows:

  • To serve, dispense or handle intoxicating liquors that are consumed on the premises;
  • To work in rooms where liquor is served or consumed, with the following exceptions: 17­year­olds may perform busing or dishwashing duties in a restaurant and 16­ and 17­year­olds may provide musical entertainment in a restaurant;
  • Serving or selling intoxicating liquor in a retail liquor establishment by minors less than 18 years of age;
  • Where chemicals or other substances are present at excessive temperatures or in injurious, explosive, toxic or flammable quantities;
  • Where explosives or fireworks are manufactured, stored, handled or fired;
  • In or about logging or lumbering operations; paper mills; saw mills, lath mills, shingle mills; mines, quarries and sand or gravel pits; construction or building projects; ice harvesting operations;
  • In building maintenance or repair higher than 12 feet above ground or floor level;
  • In oxy­acetylene or oxy­hydrogren welding;
  • On boats or vessels used for commercial purposes, except if performing guide or other non­operational duties;
  • Driving buses, cabs or other passenger­carrying vehicles as a driver;
  • In certain railway occupations;
  • Operating or assisting in the operation of power­driven machinery, such as forklifts, meat saws and grinders, milling machines, punch presses, press brakes and shears, woodworking machinery;
  • Operating any nonautomatic elevator, lift or hoisting machine;
  • Operating, erecting or dismantling rides or machinery in an amusement park, street carnival or traveling show, or in the loading or unloading of passengers on rides;
  • In aerial or other acrobatic acts;
  • As a lifeguard, except for a minor with a Red Cross lifesaving certificate that works with uninterrupted adult supervision.

Prohibited occupations for minors less than 16 years of age:

In addition to all of the above:

  • To operate or assist in the operation of machinery;
  • Laundry, rug cleaning or dry­cleaning equipment;
  • Power­driven snowblowers, lawn mowers or garden equipment;
  • Drill presses, milling machines, grinders, lathes and portable power­driven machinery such as drills, sanders, and polishing and scrubbing equipment for floor maintenance;
  • Meat slicers, textile­making machines or bakery machinery;
  • In oiling, cleaning or maintaining any power­driven machinery;
  • In work using pits, racks or lifting apparatus at service stations or in mounting tires on rims;
  • In a car wash to attach cars to or detach them from mechanized conveyor lines or to operate or contact the car while it is connected to the conveyor;
  • In any agricultural operation declared by the U.S. Secretary of Labor to be particularly hazardous for employment of children less than age 16;
  • In or about an airport landing strip and taxi or maintenance aprons;
  • As an outside helper on a motor vehicle;
  • Welding, loader or launcher for skeet­ or trap­shooting, manufacturing or commercial warehouse, processing plants;
  • Lifting, carrying or caring for patients in hospitals or nursing homes;
  • In walk­in meat freezers or meat coolers, except for occasional entrance.


  • A 17­year­old high school graduate;
  • A minor employed by a business solely owned and daily supervised by one or both parents;
  • A minor participating in a state­approved apprenticeship program or a program approved by the Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning;
  • A minor employed at tasks away from or outside of the area of hazardous operation, equipment or materials.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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