Farming still makes use of millions of workers in the U.S. and farm work remains dangerous due to the type of various activities, particularly with the use of farm implements and machinery. Since there are many family-run farms, farming is a high source of danger to youths, accounting for dozens of serious injuries and deaths each year to persons aged 16 or younger.
Records kept by the U.S. Department of Labor support its classification of agricultural jobs as among the nation’s deadliest, along with logging, mining , fishing, garbage and recycling collectors, truckers, and construction.
Farm accidents often result in lost work time, permanent impairment and deaths due to incidents such as the following:
- Workers run over by machinery
- Overturning of ATVs, tractors and other farm vehicles
- Entanglement in machinery parts
- Becoming trapped by equipment or machinery
There are a number of factors that are major contributors to the high number of injuries suffered by minors around farms. Fortunately, they can be effectively addressed by safer farm practices. Accidents can be substantially reduced by various practices including the following:
- Supervise children’s activity around the farm and prohibit playing in work areas
- Do not permit children, particular younger than 16, to operate vehicles or machinery
- Follow laws, such as the Federal law that requires 14 and 15 year olds to be certified under a tractor and machinery safety course in order to operate such equipment
- Take advantage of training and safety courses offered through various sources such as technical colleges, online sources, 4-H clubs, Future Farmers of America and university extensions.
- Require proper clothing, fitting and protective devices be used
- Properly maintain vehicles, equipment and machinery
- Use all safety devices, including seatbelts, machinery guards, etc.
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