July 19, 2019

Farm Safety And Hiring Youth On Your Farm

youth holding two baby lambs
Photo credit: realagriculture.com

Do you have youth working on your operation? Here is a summary outline of guidelines you may find informative and helpful to ensure your farm is safe for youth.

Workplace incidents — deaths and serious injuries — involving young farm workers are more often than not, preventable. These types of incidents have prompted an increase in farm safety programs, tools, and resources, such as the ones we offer through AgSafe Alberta.

AgSafe Alberta is focused on promoting safety on all farming operations while also respecting the rural way of life. We are actively working with rural stakeholders to develop educational programs to reduce preventable incidents to all workers, including young ones, while also promoting safer agricultural working practices.

Hazardous occupations in agriculture could include the following particular examples:

  • Operating a tractor of over 20 PTO horsepower, or connecting or disconnecting an implement or any of its parts to or from such a tractor

  • Operating or working with a corn picker, grain combine, hay mower, forage harvester, hay baler, potato digger, feed grinder, crop dryer, forage blower, auger conveyor, unloading mechanism of a non-gravity-type self-unloading wagon or trailer, power post-hole digger, power post driver, or non-walking-type rotary tiller

  • Operating or working with a trencher or earth-moving equipment, fork lift, potato combine, or power-driven circular, band, or chainsaw

  • Working in a yard, pen, or stall occupied by a bull, boar, or stud horse maintained for breeding purposes; a sow with suckling pigs, or a cow with a newborn calf (with umbilical cord present)

  • Felling, buckling, skidding, loading, or unloading timber with a butt diameter of more than six inches

  • Working from a ladder or scaffold at a height of over 20 feet

  • Driving a bus, truck, or other vehicle to transport passengers, or riding on a tractor as a passenger or helper

  • Working inside fruit, forage, or grain storage designed to retain an oxygen-deficient or toxic atmosphere; an upright silo with two weeks after silage has been added or when a top unloading device is in operating position; a manure pit; or a horizontal silo while operating a tractor for packing purposes

  • Handling or applying toxic agricultural chemical identified by the words: danger, poison, or warning, or a skull and crossbones label

  • Handling or using explosives

  • Transporting, transferring, or applying anhydrous ammonia

The need for continued vigilance and enhanced farm safety programs is undisputed. It is impossible to over-emphasize farm safety for all workers, both youth and adults. Producers should conduct farm safety audits and implement an on-going farm safety education program. Additionally, producers should consult with their insurance professionals to ensure adequate liability coverage is obtained for the operation.

Here are some web-based resources with more information about hiring youth on the farm: