November 15, 2023

Statement from Florida Policy Institute on SB 460

New legislation introduced by the Florida Senate, SB 460, proposes numerous changes that would impact people working in or considering skilled trades. Some of the bill’s provisions are positive, exposing teens to technical and skilled trade opportunities as an alternative to college and professional career routes.

However, there is also a provision that would allow teens aged 16 and 17 to work at heights over 6 feet (e.g., construction involving roofs, ladders, or scaffolding) if they earn a safety certificate and are supervised. In Florida, there is only one
direct supervisor available for every seven construction and extraction trade workers.

Florida Policy Institute (FPI) released the following statement on SB 460 and similar efforts to undo child labor protections.

It is commendable that the state is prioritizing increasing skilled trades in the Sunshine State, but it should not come at the expense of children’s health and safety. In an industry like construction where tight deadlines and safety risks abound, Florida must not expose teens to added dangers — especially when there is no guarantee that a supervisor will be able to ensure that child’s well-being when they are up on a ladder or roof on the jobsite.

This bill, combined with the rollbacks outlined in HB 49 that would allow 16- and 17-year olds to be scheduled overnight, for unlimited hours, and without breaks poses a grave threat to the health and safety of Florida’s youth. Workers — including child workers — need added protections, not fewer.

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