Teenager dies from freak sawmill accident as child labor laws roll back
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Featured Image Credit: GoFundMe. PASCAL LACHENAUD / AFP / Getty Images
A 16 year old teen has tragically died after being injured by a sawmill in Wisconsin.
Emergency services arrived at the scene when Michael Schuls was found unresponsive after the accident over the weekend at the Florence Hardwoods logging company, according to Florence Wisconsin Sheriff's Office.
The teen was immediately transferred to Marshfield Medical Center-Dickinson and then to Milwaukee Children's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The authorities said that Schuls’ injury was caused by an ‘industrial accident’; however, Chief Deputy Teresa Chrisman said yesterday (July 6) the specifics of his death would not be disclosed during an ongoing investigation.
A GoFundMe page was launched while Schuls’ was still on life support on Saturday.
“16 year old Michael ‘Mikey’ Schuls was working at Florence Hardwoods when [a] horrible tragedy struck,” it read
“He was taken to the local hospital after a workplace accident, and was then transferred to Milwaukee.”
They added that the proceeds would go directly towards the family and the teen’s medical expenses.
“Our small community is in absolute shock. Even if you cannot donate, please lift Mikey, his family, friends, and medical team up in prayer. Parents Jim and Stephanie, siblings Logan, Kaden, Taylor, Ashley, and Rae, along with nieces, nephews, and other family members, are all in our thoughts,” it added.
At the time of writing, the donation page has currently raised more than $20,290 (AUD $AUD 30,603).
The incident comes as several states, including Wisconsin, aim to weaken child labor protection laws.
In May, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a law that expanded the permitted working hours and places of employment for teens as young as 14 years old.
Part of this bill allows adolescents to participate in activities usually deemed inappropriate for minors, including serving alcohol, operating heavy machinery and joining demolition projects.
However, experts have warned this new piece of legalization could have grave consequences.
Terri Gerstein, the director of the Project on State and Local Enforcement at the Harvard Law School Center for Labor and a Just Economy, is one of the critics of this bill and has outlined the law reform measures regarding the issue.
“To stop violations of child labor laws, we need more funding for enforcement, higher penalties, and clear, attainable ways to hold lead corporations accountable for violations in their supply chains,” Gerstein told The Guardian.