DOL Proposal to Allow Teen Workers to Operate Powered Patient Lifts

Source: 123RF/25777736s

Washington — The Department of Labor (DOL) is accepting comment until Nov. 26 on a proposed rule that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to operate powered patient lifts in hospitals, nursing homes, or other long-term care facilities.

The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits workers younger than 18 from performing certain hazardous jobs outside of the agricultural industry but provides limited exemptions for apprentices and student learners under specific conditions.

The proposed rule, published in the Sept. 27 Federal Register, would alter the Hazardous Occupations Orders under the FLSA to exempt power-driven patient lifts.

DOL states that operating the equipment is “safer for workers than the alternative method of manually lifting patients,” and would benefit young workers in the healthcare industry.

The proposed rule states that teens seeking to learn the skill would need – according to federal or state regulations – at least 75 hours of training and at least 16 hours of supervision under a registered nurse, who has at least two years of experience.