by Lani Carlson, Maine AgrAbility Project Coordinator
Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the nation1. An estimated 1.04 million children and adolescents under 20 years of age resided on farms in 2009, with about 590,000 of these youth performing work on the farms. In addition to the youth who live on farms, children and adolescents are routinely hired to work on U.S. farms. In 2009, there were an estimated 15,876 injuries to youth who lived/worked/visited a farm in the US 2. With injury rates highest among children age 15 and under, farmers and farm families need to be aware of the dangers for children.
Farm equipment is a source of curiosity for children and tends to draw them towards work areas. The following tips are adapted from the National Safety Council’s Agricultural Division3.
Farming is typically a family business and children are going to have chores and work tasks around the farm. It is the farmer’s responsibility to provide education and continued training regarding safe work practices.
It’s worth looking around your farm with a child’s view; become aware of the hazards.
2 Agricultural Safety: 2009 Injuries to Youth on Farms — USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service
3 National Safety Council’s Agricultural Division, the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS), www.ncasag.org.