Is my child ready to operate a farm tractor or farm machinery? This can be a hard question for many parents/guardians to answer. While as a parent you may have started to drive at an early age, your child’s development and work task the child is being asked to complete, needs to be considered.
The 2019 Fact Sheet – Childhood Agricultural Injuries reports:
- About every 3 days, a child dies in an agriculture-related incident.
- Of the leading sources of fatalities among all youth, 25% involved machinery, 17% involved motor vehicles (includes ATVs) , and 16% were drownings.
- From 2001 to 2015, 48% of all fatal injuries to young workers occurred in agriculture.
- Transportation incidents were the most common fatal event, with tractors and ATVs as the primary vehicle sources.
The complete factsheet is available here.
Whether your child will be working for you or looking to get a job on a farm, it is important to determine if he or she is able to perform the work. If your child will be working for someone else, having a conversation with the employer and your child on job responsibilities is an important first step. The employer is responsible for workplace safety and provide supervision during work. However, as a parent/guardian, you need to have responsibility for your child’s safety at all times.
Agricultural Youth Work Guidelines
These guidelines can be used to assist parents and supervisors in determining if a youth is able to perform a job safely. Information on the benefits of farm work, supervision and child development is also available. Visit cultivatesafety.org/work for more information.
Agricultural Youth Work Guidelines recognize that farms and ranches possess qualities that can be beneficial for youth (e.g., plants, animals, family, chores, business features). Working in agriculture also provides youth with the opportunities to develop work skills and learn appreciation for the land. However, these worksites also contain dangerous hazards. To strike a balance, it is important to assign farm kids age-appropriate work, which enables them to reap the benefits of farm life, while helping to minimize the risks. Learn more here.
Employment of Minor Laws
It is also important to understand the laws related to the employment of youth. Depending on the youth’s age, some jobs may be deemed hazardous at that age, making it illegal to employ your child. Additionally, you want to help your child understand their employee rights and responsibilities. Additional information on Employment of Minors has helpful information from Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.
Another consideration when your child takes a job is being sure he or she is provided clear information on pay including pay rate and pay periods. Also that workplace requirements such as appropriate dress, rest and lunch breaks, and work hours are covered. In case your child receives an injury while at work, know whose insurance will cover any medical costs. Your family health insurance provider may not cover injuries that happened at work. It is never an easy situation when an employee is hurt on the job and then the employer’s doesn’t have the insurance coverage. These situations often lead to legal expenses. Better to ask questions before your child starts the job.