Manufacturing & Construction Equipment & Wisconsin's Employment of Minors Laws

Wisconsin's employment of minors laws prohibit the use of certain potentially hazardous equipment by minors under the age of 18. This page provides a list of equipment commonly used in manufacturing and construction jobs and explains when minors may use such equipment.

Considerations When Using this List

Student Learner Exemption

A "student learner" is a student of an accredited school who is employed on a part–time basis to obtain both scholastic credit and employment training under a bona fide written school-work training program agreement.

A student learner is permitted to do some work that is otherwise prohibited if the student learner is performing service within a bona fide school-work training program which is:

School-Work Training Agreements

Each school-work training agreement shall:

Each agreement shall provide all of the following:

Type of Equipment Okay under 16? Okay 16 and over? Okay for Student Learners? Comments
Acetylene torch No Yes Yes Okay for 16-17 year-olds; no restrictions.
Assembly, Hand Yes Yes Yes No restrictions.
Automatic Shape & Sand No Yes Yes Prohibited under 16; allowable under section DWD 270.14(3), the "student learner" exemption, assuming student meets all requirements therein. This includes Youth Apprentices.
CNC Router No Yes Yes
  1. Okay for 16-17 year-olds when there is full automatic feed and ejection.
  2. Okay for student learners.
Cleat bender, manual Yes Yes Yes Okay, but not on construction site under 16
Cleat bender, power-driven No Yes Yes Prohibited under 16.
Deburring Machine No Yes Yes Prohibited under 16.
Demo Hammer Yes Yes Yes Not prohibited. However, note that demolition work is never allowed to those under 18 years of age. See § DWD 270.12(28)
Drawer Clamp Yes Yes Yes Not prohibited.
Drill, Cordless; Drill, Radial No Yes Yes Okay for 16-17 year-olds; no restrictions.
Drill Press No Yes Yes Okay for 16-17 year-olds. See § DWD 270.13(15)(b)1. Prohibited for younger minors.
Flanging machines (snaplock, pittsburg, pipe lock) No No Yes
  1. Prohibited generally, see § DWD 270.12(19)
  2. Allowable under § DWD 270.14(3), the "student learner" exemption, assuming student meets all requirements therein. This includes Youth Apprentices.
Forklift No No No See § DWD 270.12(12). The forklift is the piece of equipment most commonly involved in industrial injuries. No minor, including student learners, may use them under any circumstances.
Framing Clamp Table No Yes Yes Okay for 16-17 year-olds; no restrictions.
Grinder, Hand, Bench, or Table No Yes Yes Machinery listed under § DWD 270.13(15), prohibited under 16.
Hammer drill No Yes Yes Machinery listed under § DWD 270.13(15), prohibited under 16.
Hydraulic Press No Yes Yes Okay for 16-17 year-olds; no restrictions.
Impact guns; corded and cordless No Yes Yes Okay for 16-17 year-olds; no restrictions.
Iron Worker No Yes/No Yes Prohibited generally as a metal-forming machine. Okay for 16-17 year-olds if equipped with full automatic feed and ejection. Allowable for student learners.
Jib Hoist No No No Prohibited under § DWD 270.12(12). No student learner exception.
Laser Cutting Machine No Yes/No Yes The hazardous employments listed in the employment of minors regulations do not address laser equipment directly. The Division has long considered them to be analogous to some types of welding tools. Welding is permitted for minors 16 and over as long as lead is not used in the welding process. Given these considerations, there is nothing in the employment of minors law that would prohibit the use of laser equipment by a 16-17-yearold.
Laser, PRC No Yes/No Yes See above comments. Additionally, this piece of equipment must have automatic feed and ejection.
Lathe No Yes Yes See § DWD 270.13(15).
Lift, walk behind No No No Hoists and hoisting apparatuses are prohibited with very few exceptions. See § DWD 270.12(12).
Overhead crane No No No Hoists and hoisting apparatuses are prohibited with very few exceptions. See § DWD 270.12(12).
Packaging, hand Yes Yes Yes No restrictions. Note that minors under 16 cannot work in "manufacturing or processing" occupations. See § DWD 270.13(13).
Painting Yes Yes Yes No restrictions.
Painting, Hand Yes Yes Yes No restrictions.
Parts washing machine Yes Yes Yes No restrictions. Care needs to be taken with liquids used to clean metal parts.
Pipe threader No Yes Yes Okay for 16-17; no restrictions.
Planer No No Yes Prohibited except for student learners.
Plasma, hand held tool No Yes Yes Okay for 16-17; no restrictions.
Plasma table, computerized No Yes Yes Okay for 16-17; no restrictions.
Portaband No No Yes
  1. Prohibited generally, see § DWD 270.12(25)
  2. Okay for student learners under conditions set forth in § DWD 270.14(3)
Press Brake, regardless of size No No Yes
  1. Press brakes are named specifically as prohibited under § DWD 270.12(19)
  2. Okay for student learners if all conditions are met. See § DWD 270.14(3)
Pressure washer No Yes Yes See § DWD 270.13(15)
Punch Press, Rouselle / TarPac 66 / Turret Press [Euromac] No Yes/No Yes Punch presses are prohibited for 16-17 year-olds unless they have automatic feed and ejection, and they have guards to keep hands and fingers out. Okay for student learners. See § DWD 70.12(19).
Router w/ table No Yes Yes Okay for 16-17; no restrictions
Sander; belt sander; profile or edge sander No Yes Yes Okay for 16-17; no restrictions.
Saws: including double rip saw, single rips aw, up-cut chop saw, table saw, band saw, horizontal band saw, sawzall, skill saw, reciprocating saw, etc. No No Yes
  1. Prohibited generally, see § DWD 270.12(25)
  2. Okay for student learners under conditions set forth in § DWD 270.14(3)
Screw gun No Yes Yes Okay for 16-17; no restrictions.
Shaper No Yes/No Yes
  1. Okay for minors 16 and over when there is full automatic feed and ejection
  2. Okay for student learners
Shears, including power shears, jump shears No No Yes
  1. Prohibited generally, see § DWD 270.12(19)
  2. Okay for student learners under conditions set forth in § DWD 270.14(3)
Sheet metal brake No No Yes
  1. Prohibited generally, see § DWD 270.12(19)
  2. Okay for student learners under conditions set forth in § DWD 270.14(3)
Skid Loader No No No Hoists and hoisting apparatuses are prohibited with very few exceptions. § DWD 270.12(12)
Skyjack No No No Hoists and hoisting apparatuses are prohibited to all minors. § DWD 270.12(12)
Tapering machine Yes Yes Yes No restrictions
Tenoner, Single End No Yes/No Yes
  1. Okay for minors 16 and over when there is full automatic feed and ejection.
  2. Okay for student learners under conditions set forth in § DWD 270.14(3)
Tube Bender No No Yes
  1. Prohibited generally, see § DWD 270.12(19)
  2. Okay for student learners under conditions set forth in § DWD 270.14(3)
Unique Door Machine No Yes/No Yes
  1. Okay for minors 16 and over when there is full automatic feed and ejection.
  2. Okay for student learners under conditions set forth in § DWD 270.14(3)
Vacuum Yes Yes Yes No restrictions
Welders (robotic, MIG, TIG, spot, wire feed, wire) No Yes Yes Welding okay per § DWD 270.13(15).