FOX25 Investigates: Video Prompts Child Labor Investigation
by: Eric Rasmussen Updated:
PLYMOUTH, Mass. — Investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in Boston confirm they’ve opened an inspection of a local construction company after seeing video recorded by FOX25 Investigates that shows children working on the site of a future restaurant and retail development.
The video, recorded on a Sunday, shows several children carrying and pushing equipment, standing on a foundation wall, and running through the construction site.
“It’s absolutely a dangerous situation. Children should not have been there,” said labor attorney, Jim Grosso of law firm O’Reilly, Grosso, Gross & Jones.
FOX25 Investigates also shared the video with attorney Ellen Messing of Messing, Rudavsky & Weliky in Boston. The video also shows a pre-teen child standing on a backhoe at the construction site.
Massachusetts law prohibits anyone under 16 from working in construction.
“It’s illegal in Massachusetts, it’s illegal everywhere to have kids working in construction,” said Messing. “These are dangerous jobs.”
The construction company, BOJ Construction, and the site in question are all owned by a religious group known as The Twelve Tribes. The group also operates the Blue Blinds Bakery on the same property.
Construction supervisor, Brian Johnson, told FOX25 everyone—adults and kids—work on a volunteer basis. Johnson said the children were working with their fathers at the construction site.
“It’s no different than maybe a son helping his father do haying on a farm on Sunday,” said Johnson. “We certainly wouldn’t endorse anything that would either be against the law or unsafe or inappropriate.”
FOX25 Investigates found BOJ Construction has been cited three times for “serious violations” by OSHA since 2011. The state also cited BOJ for failing to pay prevailing wage and other payroll violations in 2011.
In a statement emailed to FOX25, Attorney General Maura Healey wrote:
“These allegations are deeply concerning and we are looking into them as we would with any alleged child labor law violations. These laws are intended to protect young workers who suffer injuries at much higher rates than adults.”
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