NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders for youth working on farms.

Ergonomics for Children: Designing Products and Places for Toddlers to Teens. Lueder, R, Berg Rice, VJ, eds., Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2007 Jul; :623-650
Farming is physically demanding. The strength and endurance training that children get while working on farms can contribute to their overall health and fitness. However, excessive physical demands may lead to acute or chronic injuries and illnesses to the musculoskeletal system. The risk is especially great for the lower back, shoulders, and upper extremities. The demands of the job must match the child's abilities. Parents, supervisors, and children need to understand the hazards and know how to minimize risks. Children themselves will benefit from information that teaches them to recognize "normal" soreness versus soreness that indicates a need to rest or recover. More specific examples of successful ergonomic interventions are listed in "Simple Solutions: Ergonomics for Farm Workers" (NIOSH, 2001). Since perceptions drive action, the first target for intervention is the perceptions of farm workers and supervisors. They need information on the problems in order to understand and make conscientious decisions on assigning farm tasks to children. The most effective ergonomic interventions involve a collective effort that includes children, parents, supervisors, and safety experts. Children, parents, and supervisors will have ideas about task design and safety that fit their surroundings and lifestyle. They are also more likely to use the information if they are active participants in their own health and welfare, rather than recipients of programs designed by "outsiders." Regardless of the risk of MSDs, children and adolescents will work in agriculture and on farms with their families to gain extra income. However, they should be able to do so without exposing themselves to significant risk. Every effort should be made to assign children to jobs appropriately, according to their capabilities and to identify and eliminate jobs with high risk of injury.
Occupational-hazards; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Farmers; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers; Demographic-characteristics; Age-factors; Age-groups; Risk-factors; Risk-analysis; Injuries; Agricultural-machinery; Back-injuries
Publication Date
Document Type
Book or book chapter
Lueder-R; Berg Rice-VJ
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
Ergonomics for Children: Designing Products and Places for Toddlers to Teens
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division