The article below is a top story from this week's ACTION newsletter—Care Providers of Minnesota's weekly newsletter for members. The newsletter focuses on current legislative issues, regulations, long-term care trends, and other Association news. Each Thursday evening, it is delivered to your inbox. To sign up for ACTION, contact Lisa Foss Olson (952-851-2483). To learn more about membership, visit our Become a Member page.
DOL issues proposed rule allowing 16- & 17-year-olds to operate lifts
By Patti Cullen, CAE, President/CEO, Care Providers of Minnesota
October 5, 2018 | All members
The Department of Labor (DOL) has published a notice of proposed rulemaking
to allow trained 16- and 17-year-olds to independently operate power-drive patient lifts. DOL characterizes this as a deregulatory action that will encourage younger workers to pursue careers in healthcare. This would be an expansion of the current non-enforcement policy, where they are technically prohibited but DOL will not prosecute if 16- and 17-year-olds assisting with power lifts in specified circumstances. This proposed rule is a great step forward—Care Providers of Minnesota staff and members have brought this issue forward to members of our congressional delegation for the past several years, describing the current DOL ruling as a roadblock to employment for a core section of our workforce.
As background, 16- and 17-year-old employees generally cannot work in a nonagricultural occupation governed by any of the Department’s Hazardous Occupations Orders (HOs). HO-7 prohibits youth from working in occupations involving the operation of a power-driven patient lift. Patient lifts, however, substantially differ in form and function from the other equipment that the HO governs, including forklifts, backhoes, cranes, and other heavy industrial equipment. Additionally, patient lifts are safer for workers than the alternative method of manually lifting patients. In response to significant public input and bipartisan, bicameral requests from members of Congress, the Department of Labor proposes to remove the operation of power-driven patient lifts from the list of activities that HO-7 prohibits. This proposal, if finalized, would increase the participation of young workers in healthcare occupations and enhance their future career skills and their earning potential, without reducing worker safety. Care Providers of Minnesota will be submitting comments in support of this proposal and would also encourage members to submit comments, as it is helpful for DOL to have a record of support to justify moving forward with this proposed rule. Submit written comments on or before November 26, 2018
Patti Cullen – 952-851-2487 – email@example.com