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Children's exposures to farm worksite hazards on management-intensive grazing operations.

Fisher-RM; Berg-RL; Marlenga-B
J Agromed 2009 Apr; 14(2):192-197
Agricultural injuries continue to be an important source of childhood mortality and morbidity. There is an agreement within the injury prevention community that environmental modification is the most effective strategy for injury prevention. A growing trend among dairy farmers in the upper Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States is the adoption of management-intensive grazing (MIG) as a new technique for dairy management that actually encompasses environmental modification, decreasing the reliance on and use of tractors and machinery (major sources of fatal and nonfatal injuries to children). The purpose of this study was to explore how restructuring the work and the work environment through the use of MIG may affect children's exposure to farm worksite hazards. The study specifically focused on the most hazardous farm worksite exposures for children based on injury surveillance data (tractors, machinery, large animals, heights, and water sources). An online survey was sent to 68 Wisconsin agricultural extension agents knowledgeable about dairy operations in their counties to collect data regarding their perceptions of potential childhood farm safety hazards on MIG operations. A total of 31 surveys were returned using the online survey system, resulting in a 46% response rate. Survey results suggest that children on MIG operations do in fact have decreased exposure to farm machinery. However, there was a perceived increase in children's overall worksite exposure, in addition to specific increases in exposure to all-terrain vehicles and animals. Adoption of a MIG system clearly involves changes in exposures for children, and understanding the full impact of these changes will require further study of the effects of these exposure tradeoffs on the risks for injuries of varying nature and severity.
Age-factors; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-processes; Agriculture; Children; Environmental-control; Environmental-exposure; Environmental-factors; Environmental-hazards; Environmental-health-monitoring; Environmental-protection; Families; Farmers; Health-hazards; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Morbidity-rates; Mortality-data; Mortality-rates; Quantitative-analysis; Questionnaires; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Statistical-analysis; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Work-operations; Workplace-studies; Work-practices; Author Keywords: Children; environmental modification; farm worksite; injury
Regina M. Fisher, National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, 1000 North Oak Avenue, Marshfield, WI 54449, USA
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Journal of Agromedicine
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Marshfield Clinic