National Consumers League

Child Labor in America: Wood chipper Tied to Teen Death


by Darlene Adkins, VP for Public Policy at NCL and Coordinator of the Child Labor Coalition

Did you know that one working teen dies, on average, every five days in the United States?

It's happened again. A young worker's life has come to a tragically early end because of a deadly workplace accident. North Carolina and federal labor department officials are investigating whether child labor laws were broken in last week’s death of a 17-year-old working with a wood chipper. The young man, Nery Castaneda, became entangled in the wood chipper 3 months into his job, where his assignment was to grind up wooden pallets to make mulch.

Death's like Nery's are devastating for the family and heart-wrenching to us child labor advocates, who see the failure of child labor laws to protect working teens as the culprit.