March 04, 2024

Tips for keeping young people safe on the farm

Learn how, when and what to train young people on the farm

Assigning youth age-appropriate tasks is an important safety tip for farmers to remember.

MARSHFIELD, Wis. — Alongside the benefits of young people working on farms, there are also risks — especially when youth are assigned jobs beyond their capabilities.

Since 2009, more youth have died working in agriculture than in all other industries combined.

The Hired Agricultural Youth Work Guidelines booklet is designed to help farm employers and supervisors of hired youth reduce the risk of injury for young workers.

What Puts Youth At Risk?

• Lack of experience

• Unfamiliar with work

• Risk-taking attitude

• Drive to “prove” themselves

• Reluctance to ask questions

• Desire to impress peers

• Easily bored

• Enthusiasm sometimes outweighs judgment

What To Do:

• Provide a safe workplace

• Identify prohibited equipment and tasks

• Assign supervisors who work well with youth

• Provide personal protective equipment

• Praise positive and safe behaviors

• Model safe behaviors

• Encourage questions

• Set and enforce rules

How To Train:

• Explain the task

• Demonstrate the task

• Ask youth to repeat instructions

• Watch youth perform task, praise success and correct mistakes

• Answer all questions

• Keep sessions short

• Supervise closely until proficient

What To Train:

• Doing the job safely

• Recognizing hazards

• Taking precautions

• Using personal protective equipment

• How to handle problems

• Communication procedures

• Sources for more information

When To Train:

• First time doing task

• With every new task and tool

• With any new hazard

• After an incident

• Periodically for review

Learn more at cultivatesafety.org.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor