Farm safety and age appropriate tasks

Mar 8


peter main

peter main

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This risk assessment is normally quite objective in nature, and looks at things in quite a black and white way. This is good, but one of the things that it normally does not do is approach the issue of reaction time.


Working on a farm or any type of agricultural business has one unique characteristic regarding employees,Farm safety and age appropriate tasks Articles and that is the use of children or young adults as part of the labour force.

In most industries, there are very clear guidelines that prohibit or restrict the use of children and young adults from working in them. This is normally based on many years or decades of experience where the use of young adults or children has been deemed to be exploitative.

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.

This can be because their family own the farm, or work as employees on it. Growing up on a farm, it is quite natural for young children and young adults to get involved in the working of the farm, and is normally perfectly safe if certain restrictions put in place.

These restrictions normally refer to an understanding of developmental capacity of children and young adults  ages, and why these development issues can affect their health and safety.

An understanding of these will lead to specified tasks and roles which will be deemed to be age appropriate

The developmental characteristics of teenagers and young adults normally refers to people around the age of 12 to 17.

Aside from this, it is really important to remember that there are likely to be younger children involved in the farm and its operational practices.

Some of these practices may be work-related, and others may relate to a home based element of the farm or agricultural business.

Living on a farm of any size, means that any young children who are part of the family will be exposed to the work practices that go on on the farm.

This will be the case even when they are not actually doing any employment or work related activities.

The reason this matters so much is because of the nature of agricultural work with the inherent risks and dangers that come with the business, that would not normally occur in a standard domestic dwelling.

Some of these risks and dangers relate to machinery, agricultural equipment, vehicles and substances commonly used in day-to-day activities

All farms will use different types of machinery and agricultural equipment, both on farm land and on land around the buildings where the owners and employees live and spend leisure time.

This machinery and agricultural equipment can include tractors, combine harvesters, utility vehicles and regular cars and trucks including trailers.

These vehicles constantly switch between farm land and public roads as well as dirt tracks.

They will inevitably be used for off-road activities, increasing the risk of danger to any children or young adults in the vicinity where they are being used.

Aside from the obvious dangers of children being near any machinery and agricultural equipment, there is also a sense that sometimes farms are seen as less safe than other businesses because they are both a home and a business.

Anyone operating a farm needs  to be aware of this, and make sure there are clear boundaries in place, both physical and psychological, for family members and employees of the farm or business itself.

There also needs to be specific care taken concerning materials and liquids that are left in storage around any area of the farm or associated buildings.

Quite often these liquids and materials can be poisonous, or extremely dangerous if taken inadvertently into the body, or even if the body is exposed to it.

Young children of all ages do not normally really understand the enormity of this type of risk, and can be at high risk of danger if certain precautions are not put in place.

Whilst signage and constraints are important, it is even more important that all types of materials and liquids are stored in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, and any local or federal requirements regarding their safety and implementation.

Peter Main is a freelance writer who specializes in agriculture 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.