Every year we hear the statistics. Children are often at risk of accidents on the farm, and these are statistics we never want to see.
Choosing the right farm tasks for youth of every age is crucial to their safety. While no set of guidelines is foolproof, there are safety measures and tips to keep kids safe on the farm and ranch.
Here is a checklist of safety precautions and concerns of special note to Linda Emanuel, registered nurse and AgriSafe Network community health director in Nebraska:
- Are youth assigned farm tasks or chores appropriate for their age and ability?
- When a youth is working, is an adult providing adequate supervision, based on the youth’s age, ability and the task?
- Does an adult train youth on how to do a task safely, and demonstrate the task before having them attempt it?
- Are youth encouraged to ask questions when unsure about how to perform a task or address a hazard?
- Does an adult check the work area, ensure it is free from as many hazards as possible, and teach youth how to avoid and address remaining hazards?
There are many resources available to help youth stay safe while completing farm tasks. As for deciding if a task is age-appropriate, Emanuel suggests, “Just going by your gut instinct, if you paused to wonder if it is safe for their age, it probably is not.”
List of resources
Here is a partial list of resources to check out:
- Agricultural Youth Work Guidelines broken out by ages and developed by the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety and the National Farm Medicine Center can be found at cultivatesafety.org.
- A complete safety checklist is available at umash.umn.edu.
Learn more by emailing Emanuel at firstname.lastname@example.org.