Service Projects & Power Tool Use

We have gotten a few questions of late related to youth service projects, Eagle Scout projects and general tool and equipment use on the projects.    Please note that unit, district or council service projects, including Eagle Scout projects constitute official Scouting activity and are thus subject to Boy Scouts of America policies and procedures. They are considered part of a unit’s program and are treated as such with regard to policies, procedures and requirements regarding youth protection, leadership, and so forth. As with any Scouting activity, the Guide to Safe Scouting applies. Unit leadership should be aware of project plans and schedules; and also familiar with the council’s requirements for filing tour plans (formerly known as tour “permits”) in order to determine if projects require them. More information can be found at: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/TourPlanFAQ.aspx.


The health and safety of those working on projects must be integrated into project execution. Besides The Guide to Safe Scouting, the “Sweet Sixteen of BSA Safety” must be consulted as an appropriate planning tool. It can be found online at Scouting Safely, http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/healthandsafety/sweet16.aspx.  Hazardous jobs and certain tool and equipment use must be limited to adults at least 18 years old. They must have experience with the tasks or tools, and be recruited to do the work involved. Those under 18 may not work at heights or on ladders, drive, operate machinery and powered construction equipment, or use power tools such as chainsaws, band saws, metalworking presses, and table saws.

It is important also to obey restrictions manufacturers impose or suggest for the use of their equipment.

As a rule, Scouting activities may not include activities for youth that by law they would be not be allowed to do in a work place.   Examples, federal and state requirements that youth be at least 16 to operate push mowers.   To check what might apply in your state a good source of information is www.youthrules.gov.  

Finally, remember that service work as a unit money earning venture must also be approved by the local council.