Keeping Young Ag Workers Safe

Ernie NeffEducation, Safety

The National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety (NCCRAHS) announced resources that can be used to help keep young agriculture workers safe.

NCCRAHS pointed out that there are serious risks to children doing farm work, as well as positives. During the past decade, more youth have died working in agriculture than in all other industries combined, the organization reported. The positives include development of work ethic and self esteem and earned income.

Three new safety resource booklets provide guidelines that can help adults assign age- and ability-appropriate tasks to young people. The booklets cover farm equipment operations, working with animals and gardening.

“If we can get farm parents and supervisors to use the guidelines to assign work, it will ultimately result in fewer injuries and fatalities for our working youth,” said Marsha Salzwedel, project scientist with the National Children’s Center.

The guidelines are pulled from the Agricultural Youth Work Guidelines, developed by the National Children’s Center and covering more than 50 commonly performed tasks. Each guideline contains details about common hazards, important protective strategies and the roles adults play in ensuring a safe work environment.  

Additionally, two digital tools can be used by supervisors to assign work consistent with a youth’s abilities. The tools are a digital story and a supplemental interactive assignment, available in English and Spanish, adapted from Hand Harvesting Fruits and Vegetables from the Safety Guidelines for Hired Adolescent Farm Workers. The National Center for Farmworker Health developed the tools with funding from the National Children’s Center’s 2020 mini-grant program.

One goal of this project was to enhance the guidelines by increasing youth agricultural worker knowledge and adoption of safe practices by providing supervisors with culturally appropriate and appealing tools. Another goal was to help supervisors assign work consistent with a youth’s abilities.   

Source: National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety

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