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Youth injury on farms: a complex problem.

Hard DL
J Adolesc Health 2014 Mar; 54(3):243-244
Agriculture has consistently been identified as one of the most dangerous industries. In recent years, it has had the highest work-related fatality rate and ranks in the top three industries for the greatest number of work-related fatalities. Production agriculture is the industry subsector that is most closely affiliated with the occupation of farming. Because of the role of farms as both a home and a workplace, along with the nature of work done on farms, youth are exposed to many unique hazards. This is often further impacted by the rural location, which can delay prompt medical response and emergency assistance. The problem of children being injured while living on, visiting, or working on farms has been recognized for several decades. Data suggest that about 115 youths under age 20 years die on farms each year, and an estimated 15,876 farmrelated injuries (where injury is defined as any condition occurring on the farm operation resulting in at least 4 hours of restricted activity) occur to the same age group. Machinery is the primary source of fatalities; tractors are the single largest identifiable source of fatalities within this category. Fatality rates for young workers in agriculture production were found to be over 3.5 times higher than rates for young workers in all other industries. Youth who live on, visit, or work on farms are at increased risk of injury or death owing to hazards that are present in the work environment. In 2012, the National Consumers League listed working in agriculture as one of the five most dangerous summer jobs for teens in the United States; this has been true for at least the past 5 years. These facts are in stark contrast to what many people perceive to be life on the farm for kids: an idyllic life on the farm with children helping their parents, learning the trade of farming, being free to roam the farm, developing a work ethic, and becoming solid citizens. Although many of these things can and do occur, the fact remains that the farm is a workplace where children are exposed to hazards.
Agricultural-industry; Agriculture; Agricultural-workers; Farmers; Injuries; Traumatic-injuries; Accidents; Hazards; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Children; Morbidity-rates; Mortality-rates; Work-environment; Humans; Adolescents; Surveillance
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Journal of Adolescent Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division