Tuff Automation Inc. paid a civil money penalty of $28,474 after a 17-year-old employee suffered an amputation of his right index finger while operating an unguarded band saw at the Grand Rapids, Michigan, manufacturing facility, said officials at the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD).

The minor also suffered significant nerve damage to his right middle finger.

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Tuff Automation is a Grand Rapids-based company that provides custom material handling solutions to companies throughout the U.S. and beyond.

WHD investigators found the company violated the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by employing a worker under the age of 18 to operate prohibited hazardous equipment.

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“Child labor laws ensure minors can gain a positive and safe work experience that does not interfere with their education, health, and well-being,” said Mary O’Rourke, Wage and Hour District Director in Grand Rapids. “Child labor violations can be avoided when employers understand the rules and familiarize key business personnel about such rules prior to hiring minors. We encourage employers and school districts issuing work permits to contact us for guidance, and use the wide variety of tools we offer to help them comply with the law.”

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