Farm safety and age appropriate tasks - 14 - 18 years old

Mar 8


peter main

peter main

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Farming and agricultural businesses are very different. This is in part historical, and in part because many children and young adults live on the farm as well as work on it.


Special care needs to be taken on any farm or agricultural business where teenagers or young adults are specifically involved in any work related activity or task.

It is perfectly normal for children and young adults to be involved in these activities,Farm safety and age appropriate tasks - 14 - 18 years old Articles either as relatives or siblings of the family who own or manage the farm, or relatives and siblings of employees.

The ages between childhood and adulthood are deemed to be a growing period, where certain traits exhibit themselves at different ages, leading to developmental issues that need to be taken account of.

All development theory around teenagers can be thought of as being quite generalised, but is very valuable when or doing a risk assessment on the type of work task that is appropriate for certain age groups.

14 to 15 years old

This age range is sometimes referred to as young teens. As a group, a teenager of this age is likely to want to take risks, will be mentally very active and at the same time can be quite moody and rebellious.

They are also likely to have some type of thinking of being untouchable, in the sense of thinking that nothing bad or wrong can ever happen to them.

These beliefs need to be taken into account when deciding the type of work that they can do, taking into account the types of risk that statistically show a high proportion of death or serious injury in this age group.

One of the most serious categories of danger refers to what are called machinery entanglements. This is where the person does not fully understand how dangerous it is to get too close to working parts of equipment such as a PTO, an auger and certain power tools. This can often result in serious bodily injury, such as amputation of body parts, fractures or breaking of a limb.

The other serious category of danger tends to relate to head and spinal injuries, resulting from accidents or impact damage when using an atv or a motorcycle.

These types of accidents are often quite common when using these types of vehicles, but the risk is increased significantly within this age group, normally due to one of the developmental issues raised above.

Other areas of risk can include physically falling from structures within buildings, tractor overturns, including garden tractors, hearing loss by spending too much time close to loud machinery and equipment and not being aware of how to handle certain animals properly resulting in some type of injury.

The most appropriate type of tasks to this age group normally include maintaining equipment and machinery on the farm, the manual feeding of livestock, raking hay and operating a pressure washer.

There may also be some tasks that are related to operating non articulated tractors for fieldwork, but this needs to be carefully thought through and supervised properly to make sure the risks are carefully assess and managed.

16 to 18-year-olds

While this age group is classified as teenagers, to many people they are really young adults.

However the risks associated with them are similar in many ways to the risks already outlined above concerning machinery and equipment, the physical falling off structures, hearing loss and animal handling incidents.

There are some additional risks in two particular areas. Depending on local traffic laws, people of this age may be permitted to use public roads in some capacity, increasing the likelihood of some type of accident or mishap either with the vehicle itself, or a load it is carrying.

The other obvious danger for this age group, and for all employees of any age, is the use of alcohol and /or drugs. The only difference regarding this age group is  that might be a tendency to want to experiment, either out of curiosity or boredom or peer pressure.

Not everyone will want to experiment, but the pressure can be there. This is a potential risk that everyone involved in the work activities of a farm needs to be aware of, and to be able to react to and deal with in a safe and sensitive manner.

Peter Main is a freelance writer who specializes inagriculture and related matters with all major manufacturers, such as farm and construction machinery, tractors, utvs, lawn and garden tractors, and snowblowers. He also writes extensively about all areas of tractor finance, including credit scores, insurance and loan pay offs.